Pakistan news April 2, 2012

British tour arrives in Pakistan


At a time when Pakistan is a no-go area for major international cricket, a team of university students, graduates and MCC playing members from the UK has arrived in Lahore for a series of charity matches.

Pakistan has been off limits for international cricket since an armed terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus during a Test match in Lahore in March 2009.

Passion for cricket remains undimmed, though. A series of domestic T20 games staged in Rawalpindi recently drew packed houses of around 20,000, with a further 15,000 gathered outside in the hope of catching a glimpse of the action.

The PCB are desperate to bring international cricket back to the country. They have invited Bangladesh to play a limited-over series later this month, but it remains unclear whether the tour will go ahead. In the meantime, the PCB hope that by staging matches against international teams - even international teams as low-key as the current visitors loosely termed the 'British Universities' - that they will show that there is nothing to fear in touring Pakistan.

"Everything so far looks very good," Kemal Alam, captain of the touring party said. "When you see things from outside it's a completely different picture from what you see in the media. A lot of stuff is distorted and until you can actually come to a country and see it for yourself with your own eyes, you can never get a good picture of what's going on.

"This is the second tour that we have brought here in the last seven years from the British Universities and we are here as a charity team and also a goodwill gesture between Britain and Pakistan.

"Pakistan really needs cricket. Cricket is the most important thing in the country and it keeps everyone going. It's almost like taking the oxygen out of the country when you don't have international cricket."

The tourists will play one game 25-overs a side match against Aitchison College followed by two 50-over matches against a Pakistan under-19 side at the Gaddafi Stadium.

"We are trying our level best try to convince people - the national teams abroad - that this place is safe," Intikhab Alam, the PCB's director of international cricket, told Intikhab the tourists. "I'm sure when you play here and you meet the people, that you will get the idea that things are not that bad."

It also emerged last week that the PCB are in talks with Kent-based club Lashings about a prospective tour. Since the 2009 attack Afghanistan, who played against the Pakistan A side, and Hong Kong, who had a training camp ahead of the World T20 qualifiers in the UAE, are the only international sides to visit Pakistan.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Morad on April 4, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    You have to give credit to the Brits as they have helpes Pak out a few times recently, despite historic rivalray.

    The MCC organised the Australia & Pakistan matches in 2010.............The ECB Chairman Giles Clark heading a committee to bring back cricket to PAK...and now this.........................BCCI should take a lesson from this that Rivalries continue but we must maintain our focus on the larger picture that being that PAK is good for World Cricket Internationally and at Domestic level in various countries...................

  • Dummy4 on April 4, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    PTV Sports channel will broadcast British University Charity XI vs Pakistan U19 team match from Gaddafi Stadium.

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    we are looking forward to big teams

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    Good for PAK cricket wicket keeping issue of Pak is looking to be solved by seeing the talent of Sialkot wicket keeper batsman Shakeel Ansar he seems to be highly talented !

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    This is very good news, every Pakisitani cricket support is thrilled by this exciting news... I often think that Lankan team attack is only incident of its kind, this kind of attack on touring team has not happened in the past and will not happen in the future

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    i think its good news for pakistan cricket that some one tour pakistan i hope inshallah in future international cricket should be played in pakistan i am thankful to Mr zaka ashraf and their team member for putting more efforts towards cricket not only international cricket but i hope inshALLAH in future pakistan priemer league shuold be played and other team member come in pakistan and play ppl i love my country pakistan and i love my cricket team .

  • Asif on April 3, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    Why Intikhab Alam always in the PCB as manger,coach,director ets.

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    In order to re-establish international cricket in Pk, it will need an initial focus on "grass roots" cricket. This is why this tour and the proposed Lashings tour are a good idea, to demonstrate to international teams that it is safe to tour. Then in stepwise progression the weaker international teams should tour (Bd, Zim, Afghan, Ire), followed by the "big fish".

  • Syeda on April 3, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Great news! May the tour go off without a hitch and may it herald a return of peaceful international cricket in Pakistan. Kudos to the touring teams -- Afghanistan, Hong Kong, 'British Universities', MCC -- for taking this important step. Much appreciated by this staunch Pakistani cricket supporter :) Yes, Pakistan needs many more such ventures of sports and cultural exchanges otherwise it gets further isolated and more easily entrenched in the forces (extremists) who do not want to nurture such positive and productive international and bi-national exchanges.

  • Imran on April 3, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Pakistani,s love cricket and soon international cricket will be back in pakistan. I hope you guys enjoys there. atleast weather is nice there as its quite cold here this week in uk.

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