Pakistan news December 14, 2012

PCB using BPL to bargain for Bangladesh to tour

The auction for the upcoming season of the Bangladesh Premier League, which is set to happen on December 20, has become the Pakistan Cricket Board's bargaining chip with the Bangladesh Cricket Board over their 'written commitment' to tour Pakistan. The PCB is yet to handover No-Objection Certificates to its players to participate in BPL 2013, and without them the tournament will be without 20 of its star overseas players from the inaugural edition.

The PCB and BCB have been discussing a short tour of Pakistan, which would mark the return of top-flight international cricket to the country for the first time since the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore. The PCB is seeking an official announcement from the BCB, regarding the proposed tour. A window has been created by the PCB to accommodate an ODI and T20 between January 10 and 15 ahead of the BPL, which starts from January 17.

"Onus is on Bangladesh now, whether they want to honour their commitment or not as we have already honored out commitment [by nominating Bangladesh's candidate for the ICC presidency]," a top PCB official told ESPNcricinfo. "We did everything to ensure our full support to Bangladesh every time, now it's time for BCB to do it.

"The Bangladesh delegation was satisfied with the security plan [for the proposed tour] and we are committed to give them the best security. The window is open for the series of two matches, preferably when we return back from the India tour."

Earlier, Bangladesh was all set to tour Pakistan in April this year after a deal had been cut between the two boards, by which the PCB would back the BCB president Mustafa Kamal as the nominee for the ICC vice-presidency and Bangladesh would tour Pakistan in 2012. However, the tour was postponed after a Dhaka court order embargoed the series.

In view of the tour, the ICC had introduced a special dispensation, to be made in exceptional circumstances, by which bilateral series can take place even if the ruling body determined it unsafe to appoint its officials for the series. As per the dispensation, such series could be manned by "non-neutral match officials".

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent