Bilateral ties hinge on tour of Pakistan
The relationship between the PCB and the BCB is likely to suffer if Bangladesh do not go ahead with the proposed tour to Pakistan in April because of security concerns, ESPNcricinfo has learnt. An implicit deal had been reached by the two boards, according to which the PCB backed BCB president Mustafa Kamal as the nominee for the ICC vice-presidency and Bangladesh would tour Pakistan in 2012.
"Ultimately, its Bangladesh's loss if they don't send their team," Zaka Ashraf told ESPNcricinfo. "We are helping them and want to have a positive relationship not only with Bangladesh, but all the nations. We want to strengthen our relationship. We have been sending our players to feature in their leagues and we expect them to respect our positive approach, after all everything is on reciprocal basis."
The ICC executive board is set to consider Kamal's nomination as its next vice-president, and president in 2014 after Alan Isaac's term. And though there have been constant doubts over whether Bangladesh will tour Pakistan, the PCB is optimistic that the drought of international cricket in the country since the terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team in March 2009 will come to an end.
ESPNcricinfo understands that the BCB, despite being satisfied by the proposed security arrangements for the tour to Pakistan, is seeking some support from other countries, but none has been forthcoming. 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 series, and Kamal had said he was positive about the tour going ahead.
The ICC, however, introduced a special dispensation to be made in exceptional circumstances in order to ensure bilateral series take place even if the ruling body determined it unsafe to appoint its officials for such series. It would allow such series to be manned by "non-neutral match officials."
Kamal then put the future of the tour in doubt by saying, "We won't go if everything doesn't happen within the standard practice, which is the allocation of match-referees, umpires and all things by the ICC."
While the PCB did not respond to Kamal's comments, a board official said the BCB was being leaned on by another country. "We are informed of a third-country pressure on BCB," a PCB official told ESPNcricinfo. "We understand most of the member boards aren't keen to support our move, but we are very much clear of what would be required to give Bangladesh the confidence to come to Pakistan. And we did exactly what we have to do - we have engaged the government at the superior level to satisfy Bangladesh with the security arrangements."
Since the attacks, Pakistan have played their home bilateral series at offshore venues such as New Zealand, England and the UAE but the PCB saw no commercial advantage in hosting Bangladesh at such venues. The PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf, who will be in Dhaka for the end of the Asia Cup, will make a final attempt to allay any doubts Bangladesh might have. The PCB also ruled out the possibility of talks with the BCCI. "There's no use of asking India any further," Ashraf said. "Their board doesn't want to play us and that's clearly understood."
Edited by George Binoy
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent