Pakistan news March 9, 2012

PCB hits back at FICA for 'rigid views'

The Pakistan Cricket Board has criticised the Federation of International Cricketers' Association for its "rigid views" even as the board attempts to revive international cricket in the country. Tim May, the chief executive of FICA, the players' representative body, had questioned the ICC's plan to allow Bangladesh's proposed tour of Pakistan to go ahead despite the governing body not willing to send its own match officials to the country on advice that it was unsafe to visit.

"FICA always has rigid views sitting thousands of miles away," Subhan Ahmed, the PCB's chief operating officer, told ESPNcricinfo. "This is one of the reasons why we don't recognise and endorse FICA at any level. They [FICA] should restrict their comments to those countries they represent." The FICA represents players' associations from Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies but not from Pakistan.

The ICC's plan involves countries having to seek a "special dispensation" which allows them to host bilateral series with "non-neutral match officials". This means that even if the ICC deems a series to be "unsafe" for its own officials, the tour will proceed since the final call rests with the participating countries.

Pakistan hasn't hosted international cricket since the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore three years ago. The PCB, under its new chairman Zaka Ashraf, is working hard towards bringing international cricket back to Pakistan and are hoping a short limited-overs series with Bangladesh will end the drought. Last week, a nine-member Bangladesh delegation, led by board president Mustafa Kamal, gave the nod to the security arrangements at various venues after a two-day visit.

"We have made a significant attempt to satisfy Bangladesh's security delegation and obviously our first priority is to provide a safe atmosphere for the ICC officials and for the Bangladesh team," Ahmed said. "But in any case if the ICC allows non-neutral officials for the proposed series, which ultimately goes in the record book as an official series, we have no issue at all.

"We are seeking one chance to host an international series and prove that we have the infrastructure and the capability to host a safe series. This could help us to change the perception about Pakistan. The Bangladesh series will be a stepping stone for us and the series will be a success."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent