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Pakistan Urges Bangladesh to Send ‘Any’ Team

by AFP
Rizwan Tabassum—AFP

Rizwan Tabassum—AFP

PCB chairman informs journalists in Dhaka that security situation in Pakistan has greatly improved in past five years.

Pakistan’s cricket chief has urged Bangladesh to send ‘any’ team to his country as they seek to bring back international matches following the deadly attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in 2009.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shahryar Khan arrived in Bangladesh on Monday and declared that it was now much safer in his country than five years ago. “We understand that security situation is a hurdle in the way of your national team, or any other team, visiting Pakistan,” Khan told reporters late on Monday. “But let me say that the security situation is much, much better,” he added.

Pakistan have not hosted an international cricket match since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009, leaving eight people dead and wounding seven Sri Lankan players and an assistant coach. Pakistan’s “home” matches have since been played in venues ranging from the United Arab Emirates to England.

Khan said he was undertaking the visit “to renew cordial and cooperative relations … on the cricket front” which soured in early 2013 when Bangladesh shelved a planned tour on safety grounds. Pakistan responded by banning its own cricketers from playing in the Twenty20 Bangladesh Premier League tournament.

“If your national team cannot come to Pakistan for security reasons—even though I would ask them to send a team to examine how things are—I want to start cricket between two countries,” Khan said. He added that they would welcome ‘any’ team from Bangladesh even “at the level of A teams, U19s. Send your schoolboys to us, and of course your women. We want to start at every level with Bangladesh. They will get a very warm welcome. This is what I have come for, to revive and revitalize our relationship.”

“My expectation is that we will sit down and work out something in the future, which will start up the relationship at whatever level is convenient to Bangladesh,” he added.

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