Younis calls for solidarity from Asian bloc
Pakistan captain Younis Khan has urged India and other Asian cricketing nations to come together to help allay security fears in the region and save the game in the subcontinent. "Cricket hit by security fears is no longer Pakistan's problem alone ... I think Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will have to unite in allaying security fears in the region," Younis said.
Pakistan's home Test series against Sri Lanka was terminated abruptly following an attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in which eight people, including six policemen, were killed and seven players injured. The incident exacerbated security fears in the region with Bangladesh postponing their home series against Pakistan.
It was not the first time that the country had been at the receiving end of several tour suspensions and cancellations, with West Indies calling off a proposed tour and India, following a government directive, opting not to tour Pakistan in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.
Big-ticket tournaments like the Champions Trophy, originally proposed to be held in Pakistan last year, have also been moved to an alternate venue (South Africa). Serious doubts also persist on Pakistan's chances of hosting its share of matches in the World Cup 2011, to be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Younis called for a joint effort that would help all the Asian countries avoid any kind of alienation. "With the 2011 World Cup just two years away, a joint effort will be in every nation's benefit because we have to save cricket in the region," he said.
The next assignment for Pakistan is a five-match ODI encounter and a Twenty20 international against Australia, who have not toured Pakistan since 1998. The series however, will be played from April 22-May 7 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai owing to safety fears expressed by the Australian players.
Younis admitted that security demands had increased since the Lahore attacks. "I am confident that Australia will play in the UAE," he said. "Australians have every right to be satisfied on security before touring."