T20 series to help restore Pak image
18 October, 2012
LAHORE: In a major breakthrough for the revival of cricket in Pakistan, the World XI led by former Sri Lankan all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya will reach Karachi here today (Thursday) to play two Twenty20 matches series commencing from October 21 in National Stadium Karachi.
The series success without the help of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will be a big achievement of Sindh Sports Minister Dr MA Shah who played vital role in bringing international cricketers to Pakistan and helped fans enjoy superb game of the world's best players which is also a big slap on the face of PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf who has been facing failure to bring international cricket back to the country through his ‘solo efforts’.
The PCB chief denial to go all-out for the series, instead of extending helping hand to Sindh Sports Minister in recognition his success in bringing international cricket back to the country and helping the board end Pakistan isolation, is a big blunder on the part of the country's cricket controlling body.
The statement by PCB regarding taking no responsibility of any affair of the international event shows that the bard is not interesting in brining international cricket back to the country. The PCB statement said that it supported the matches but it made it clear that foolproof security, anti-corruption measures, marketing and broadcasting of the matches remained the responsibility of the organisers.
“In a meeting of PCB executive coordination committee, it wished all success to Shah, and noted that the board had also released players to participate in the matches. But all other obligations including security, anti-corruption, marketing and broadcasting etc. are direct responsibility of the organiser and were to be managed by him (Shah)."
Sports Minister for Sindh MA Shah said the matches would help restore Pakistan's image in the world. "We hope that this small step will pave the way for other teams to tour Pakistan and by staging these matches we hope to send a clear message that our country is safe for international sports," Shah said.
Shah said that strict security would be in place. "Around 5,000 policemen will be deployed to avoid any lapse and we are sure that these arrangements will make the players at ease."
The event, however, will not be PCB sanctioned after the board refused taking responsibility of the arrangements, including the most important security issues. The national team players nonetheless, have been handed 'No Objection Certificate' to take part in the two matches, scheduled to take place at the National Stadium in Karachi, on October 20 and 21.
The idea was first floated earlier in the year, but was shunned following PCB's disapproval, who was keen to revive international cricket in the country. After months of negotiation with the Bangladesh Cricket Board, the tour was officially called off following a four-week embargo imposed by the Bangladesh high court on its players due to security threats.
Shah has confirmed that all arrangements have been made, and expects the matches to work as a stepping stone for his nation in an attempt to resume cricketing ties. "I have been working from last one year to make this event possible. We have finalised all the arrangements to hold these matches in a befitting manner under tight security. Both matches will be played under floodlights. The event will give a soft image of Pakistan around the world and would encourage the teams to visit Pakistan."
The World XI comprising international stars from South Africa, West Indies, Afghanistan and Sri Lankan players and will face the Pakistan All Stars led by Shahid Afridi in two Twenty20 matches to be played in National Stadium Karachi.
Former West Indian batsman Alvin Kallicharan will manage the World XI.