PCB asks to host World Cup qualifiers in 2018
The PCB has lodged a request with the ICC to host the World Cup qualifying tournament in 2018, which will determine the final places at the following year's event in England, as they attempt to revive international cricket in Pakistan.
There have been no international games in country since March 2009 when the buses carrying the Sri Lankan team and ICC officials were attacked on their way to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. There have been tentative steps to try and bring visiting teams back, but Bangladesh's withdrawal from their tour last year confirmed how much concern remains.
Pakistan has had two ICC events removed from them in recent years with the 2008 Champions Trophy shifted to South Africa and they were taken off the 2011 World Cup due to the ongoing security problems. The PCB had previously shown interest in hosting the 2014 World Twenty20 which was awarded to Bangladesh and now wants to push again for an event.
"There is a ICC event in 2018 and Pakistan have requested it should be given an opportunity to host the event," Ashraf said at Lahore airport on his return from recent ICC meetings in Dubai. "We have also asked them to evaluate the security situation when the time comes, but keep the slot for us. They have agreed and have given it to the committee and when the time comes they will assess the security situation and will decide accordingly."
Pakistan was previously part of a global event when it co-hosted the 1996 World Cup alongside India and Sri Lanka. Ashraf admitted that a lot of work remains to convince teams that touring Pakistan is a viable option.
"I have talked with three to four presidents of cricket boards and they are reluctant when they hear the name of Pakistan especially after the Bangladesh ran away last year," he said. "They think when Bangladesh did not come how could they tour? We are talking with another country and they have asked us to send the request. We are trying their women's team or Under-19 team so that something starts and the confidence level is developed."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here