The International Cricket Council has hired an international security company on a three-year term in order to aid the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi has confirmed the development.
“It’s a step by the ICC for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan,” Pakistan’s national daily The Dawn has quoted Sethi as saying. “The company is based in three countries – the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates – and has a good repute.”
A representative of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations will accompany the security company to personally monitor the security situation in Lahore.
“It will be a four-day visit where the security company will work with the government of Punjab (Pakistan) to get assurances that all the recommendations submitted by security experts of the different countries who visited Lahore to watch the final of the second Pakistan Super League (PSL) season have been incorporated by the government in its SOPs, or not.”
Sethi has further disclosed that the security team will visit the country each year and the ICC would pay them US$400,000 for every visit, making it a total of US$1.2million for the full three-year term, as per the report published by the dawn.com.
“The report of the security company would pave the way for resumption of international cricket to the country, clearing the way for the PSL to be played here in Pakistan,” Sethi added. “The inclusion of the FICA representative is to satisfy the foreign players’ concerns over visiting Pakistan.”
The PCB chief said the recommendations made by foreign security experts who came for the PSL final had been incorporated in the SOPs of the Punjab. The foreign delegations during the PSL final had one representative from Sri Lanka, which Sethi said, had given a positive report about the security arrangements and therefore Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had agreed on a short trip to Lahore during their upcoming series against Pakistan.
On that short trip in October, subject to security clearance, Sri Lanka could play up to two T-20 Internationals in Lahore. “The Sri Lankans have agreed to play the third game of the T20 series against Pakistan in Lahore,” said Sethi, who returned home from Sri Lanka after presiding over the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Colombo. “The second match can also be staged in Lahore.”
The remaining matches of the full series including two Tests, five One-day Internationals and one T20 will be played in UAE. Sethi added the visit of the ICC World XI was almost on the cards but he could not, at this point in time, disclose the exact dates of the tour. The World XI is to play three T-20 matches in Lahore next month.
Meanwhile, about shifting of the Asia Under-19 Cup to Malaysia from India, the PCB chairman said the decision was taken with consensus to avoid any controversy. The Indian delegates, who attended the ACC meeting, agreed to shift the event to Malaysia. He said the decision was taken in a friendly atmosphere and there was no acrimony. He said although Sri Lanka could have been the next hosts of the Under-19 event, the decision to hold it in Malaysia was taken to promote cricket in the small cricketing nation.
The PCB would also help Maldives to promote the game in the tiny island.