The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has invited Bangladesh to play in the strife-torn country even as the scheduled tour of Zimbabwe appears to be in jeopardy following the latest terrorist attack on members of the Ismaili community in Lahore.
Around 46 people including 18 women were killed when terrorists attacked a bus of the Ismaili community in Pakistan’s biggest city on Wednesday. PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan told reporters on Thursday, after returning from a tour to India, that he was hopeful off more teams coming to Pakistan in future. “We have invited the Bangladesh board to send their team and they have showed positive intent. I had positive discussions with their officials in Dhaka,” Shaharyar said.
The PCB chief after spending a few days in Dhaka went to India to discuss the revival of Indo-Pak bilateral ties with government functionaries and Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) officials. “We have invited Bangladesh to visit Pakistan for a series and they have shown positive signs. We also told them to send their under-19 and women’s team to Pakistan. Their women’s team tour could materialise as early as August,” Shaharyar said. He said the Pakistan team had got a very good response in Bangladesh during their just-concluded tour.
“We lost the ODI and T20 series to them (Bangladesh) but while their fans enjoyed their team’s success they were also very happy to encourage our players. The fans were happy to witness Pakistan visiting their country for a series.” Shaharyar termed his visit to India as a “success”. “I have known Jagmohan Dalmiya for a long time and had positive talks with him and he is also keen to resume bilateral ties. The signs from their (Indian) government were also very positive for restoration of ties,” he said. “Indian government has shown great interest in the series which is being planned to be played in the UAE in December.”We have signed the MoUs in accordance with Future Tours Program.”
Shaharyar extends invitation to BCCI officials: Shaharyar has extended invitations to key officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and government functionaries to attend a match of the forthcoming series against Zimbabwe in Lahore. According to reliable sources in the PCB, Shaharyar, who met with a key leader of the ruling BJP and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur in New Delhi on Tuesday, extended the invitations in a bid to improve relations between the two boards and pave the way for revival of Indo-Pak series later this year. “We are hopeful that Arun Jaitley or Anurag Thakur will come to Lahore as our special guests for one of the limited-overs matches against Zimbabwe in Lahore later this month,” a source said. Zimbabwe are due to tour Pakistan from May 19 to play three ODIs and two T20 matches in Lahore.
The PCB source said Shaharyar had brought up the issue of Pakistan players not being allowed into the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Dalmiya. “Dalmiya has assured he will look into the matter and it would also be discussed at the next working committee meeting of the Indian board,” the source added. He said the PCB chief had conveyed to his Indian counterpart that Pakistan players should be allowed to play for franchises in the IPL as this would help in development of Pakistan cricket.