Pakistan news January 14, 2011

Richardson rules out international cricket in Pakistan

ESPNcricinfo staff

Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager for cricket, has firmly ruled out the possibility of international cricket returning to Pakistan in the near future. Pakistan has not hosted an international series since the Lahore attacks on Sri Lanka's cricketers in March 2009, and as long there isn't an improvement in the security situation there was no point talking of bringing international cricket back to the country, Richardson said. Instead, he claimed the way forward was to promote the domestic setup in Pakistan.

"It's useless to talk about bringing back international cricket to Pakistan," Richardson told reporters in Karachi. "I think once there is an improvement in the security conditions and arrangements then teams can be convinced to start looking at playing in Pakistan again."

Pakistan was stripped of its rights to co-host the 2011 World Cup with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the aftermath of the Lahore attacks. Amid the decline in cricket in the country, the domestic competitions deserved more attention, said Richardson. "It might take a lot of time but it doesn't mean that the game cannot progress here. The PCB should concentrate on promoting the domestic structure. According to me, that's the only way to keep the game going."

Richardson is in Karachi to watch the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan's premier first-class tournament, which is being played under lights at the National Stadium. It's an unprecedented event in Pakistan domestic cricket and one of the ways the PCB is trying to promote domestic cricket in these difficult times.

"The ICC is working on several recommendations to make Test cricket more interesting and the day-night option sounds very interesting. I am here to see whether it's feasible to conduct Test matches under lights using orange balls.

"The PCB has taken a good decision to hold the final of the five-day domestic tournament under lights and it will help popularise the sport as well."