Pakistan’s security situation has improved but it needs to work on confidence-building measures to convince major teams such as Australia and England to tour, International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson said on Wednesday.
Pakistan is hosting a World XI for three Twenty20 matches in only the second international series at home since attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009 suspended all international cricket in the country.
Richardson said he hoped Pakistan—who also hosted Zimbabwe in 2015—would be able to build on the current tour. “It’s a long process,” said Richardson of the revival of international cricket in Pakistan. “I think the next step is to grow capabilities, improve capabilities to areas and cities outside of Lahore itself. That is to build the confidence of teams like Australia and England, and all other teams that it’s safe to tour Pakistan on a more regular basis and for much lengthier periods of time.”
Lahore has hosted all the international matches played in Pakistan in the last two years. Even before the 2009 incident, foreign teams already had concerns about touring Pakistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, which sparked the invasion of neighboring Afghanistan and the “war on terror.”
Australia have not toured Pakistan since 1998 over security fears.
Richardson, a former South African wicketkeeper batsman, said Pakistan had made a lot of progress on the security front. “I think Pakistan in the last two years has made tremendous strides in improving the security situation. Let’s get through this tour, then have other teams touring Pakistan,” said the head of cricket’s governing body.
The ICC, he said, had agreed to fund $1.1 million to assess security in Pakistan for the next three years. “Certainly I think the intention would be to bring more and more Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches to Pakistan. But also to bring member countries to tour Pakistan, not a World XI tour. And that would be the ideal to have international cricket to return to Pakistan in normal circumstances.”
Pakistan staged the PSL final in March with eight foreigners including Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan of England featuring, which paved the way for the World XI tour.