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Umar Farooq in Lahore
March 4, 2012
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The Bangladesh delegation sent to inspect security arrangements in Pakistan is "satisfied" with the infrastructure and BCB president Mustafa Kamal has said he is keen to send the Bangladesh team on a tour of Pakistan. Now, both boards are seeking consent from the ICC to go ahead with the tour that is proposed for April this year.
"After seeing all the security arrangements all of us agree and are satisfied that the security infrastructure is in place," Kamal said at a press conference in Lahore. "Now it is my responsibility to convince my government to allow the tour and also request the ICC to approve the tour. Since the ICC governs and regulates the game we have to take this issue to them and must bring it to their notice that we want to send a team."
A nine-member delegation, headed by Kamal, had been sent on a two-day visit to Pakistan to observe a demonstration of the security plan for the proposed series. Kamal had said he was positive about the tour after a meeting in which the security plan was explained on Saturday. On Sunday, there was a full demonstration in Lahore, which involved more than 500 policemen being deployed between the Pearl Continental hotel, where the players will stay, to the Gaddafi Stadium. The Bangladeshi delegates, along with members of the PCB, including chairman Zaka Ashraf, were transported from the Pearl Continental hotel to the ground by a bus that was surrounded by two police jeeps, a police truck and several motorbikes.
There were two helicopters patrolling the sky at the stadium, and a mock evacuation via helicopter was also carried out to demonstrate how players or spectators could be rescued in case of an incident. The officials observed the same security protocol that would be in place should an international match be hosted by the stadium.
"We are here for three objectives," Kamal said, "One is to see the infrastructure, second to get information about the security plan and third to see the capability to execute the plan, and definitely all of us agree that all the segments were in place."
There has been no international cricket in Pakistan since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists on March 3, 2009, following which Pakistan were also stripped of the matches they were to host during the 2011 World Cup. Kamal said the ICC might have a different outlook this time since they were being directly approached by another member board.
"We will be approaching the ICC and telling them that we are keen to come to Pakistan. Here lies the difference: earlier nobody approached them, this time we will be approaching them in a positive way. We must get them engaged; we must get their consent. It is the beginning of the process [to return international cricket to Pakistan], which was stalled for the past couple of years."
The ICC has not sent any representatives to Pakistan for a security assessment of the proposed tour yet but will do so before it agrees to send its match officials for any games in Pakistan.
Zaka Ashraf said he was optimistic that the ICC would give their consent since both countries' boards had agreed to the tour. "I have personally met with the ICC chief; they want to see international cricket return to Pakistan, and were supportive, but the only concern was security," Ashraf said. "Now that we have the Bangladesh security team here and they are satisfied, the ICC's role is important."
There are two itineraries proposed for the tour, one of which includes a three-match ODI series, and the other a series of two ODIs and one Twenty20 international, to be completed in one week in April. Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium and Karachi's National Stadium are the venues expected to host the matches.
Edited by Dustin Silgardo
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