Thursday, December 3, 2009

PCB counting on ICC Task Force for international cricket revival

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Thursday it hoped a Task Force set up by the game’s governing body would help revive its international cricketing reputation, which has been battered by security fears. The International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier this year set up the Task Force to ensure that international cricket is played in Pakistan in future, subject to security conditions in the insurgency-hit nation. The Task Force meets in Dubai on Friday (today) and Saturday (tomorrow). The PCB was at first reluctant to accept the help of the Task Force when the idea was floated in February, but is now pinning its hopes of recovery on the efforts of the governing body.

“PCB chairman Ijaz Butt will be apprising the Task Force about the issues being faced in our cricket and hopes that through the efforts of the Task Force the best possible solutions can be worked out for Pakistan,” a spokesman for the PCB said. “The efforts of ICC president David Morgan, and other members are greatly appreciated by the PCB at a time when Pakistan cricket is facing its toughest challenges,” added the spokesman. The Task Force is headed by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke. Other members include former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja, former England captain Mike Brearley, and former Sri Lankan captain Ranjan Madugalle.

Several countries have refused to tour Pakistan due to security fears amid a fierce and violent insurgency by militants. Cricket in Pakistan was dealt a severe blow when the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore on March 3, killing eight people and injuring seven visiting players and their assistant coach. The brazen attacks ended all hopes of Pakistan staging international cricket in the foreseeable future. A month later, the ICC stripped the country of its share of World Cup 2011 matches.

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