ABU DHABi // Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Monday that tours from second-tier and smaller teams could help revive domestic cricket hit by the fear of terrorist attacks.
Pakistan have not hosted any international cricket since the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus at Lahore in March 2009.
Bangladesh twice backed out of touring for a short series, in 2012 and last year, citing security fears.
Ireland were to play a short limited-over series in Pakistan last month, but terrorist attacks on Karachi airport resulted in the tour being called off.
Shaharyar said he had visited Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India to lobby for a revival of cricket tours to Pakistan.
“I toured India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and the response was very good,” he said.
“The aim of the exercise is to help revive the Asian spirit, and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are prepared to send their Under 19 teams, women’s and ‘A’ teams to Pakistan.”
Shaharyar said the process of bringing cricket back to Pakistan would be a gradual one.
“The objective is to slowly and gradually open the doors for teams to come to Pakistan. I have had several confirmations from Associate countries,” he said. “For me, the day is not far off, and I will announce it when teams decide to come.”
He also said India gave assurances of six series in the next eight years, starting in December 2015.
“I met Indian cricket chief [NR] Srinivasan in Dubai on Sunday and he has said ‘come what may, I am committed to the six series’, and he has his government’s approval,” he said
In April this year, Pakistan and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding to play six series – four to be hosted by Pakistan – between 2015-2023.
Pakistan will host India for two Tests, three one-days and a Twenty20 in December 2015, likely in the UAE.
Shaharyar said he has also requested former Indian spinner Bishen Bedi to bring an Indian XI of retired players to play an exhibition match in Pakistan.
“Bedi came to see me and he told me that he can bring an Indian XI for an exhibition game, with retired players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid to Pakistan and that too can help,” he said.
Follow us on Twitter at @SprtNationalUAE