Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim refuses to visit Pakistan due to family's concerns over security

Updated January 18, 2020

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Bangladesh cricketer Mushfiqur Rahim celebrate their team's five wickets victory over Sri Lanka after during the third T20 international cricket match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka of the tri-nation Nidahas Trophy at the R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo on March 10, 2018. —AFP/File
Bangladesh cricketer Mushfiqur Rahim celebrate their team's five wickets victory over Sri Lanka after during the third T20 international cricket match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka of the tri-nation Nidahas Trophy at the R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo on March 10, 2018. —AFP/File

Bangladesh batsman Mushfiqur Rahim has announced that he will not be joining his team on its tour to Pakistan due to his family's concerns over security, ESPN Cricinfo reported on Saturday.

Rahim said that while Pakistan is a "is a great place to play cricket", he had decided not to visit because "his family is worried" and does not want him to go.

"I have already said I wouldn't go to Pakistan. I have decided it long ago and informed the board. I have submitted a letter too. My family is worried, and they don't want me to go," Rahim was quoted as saying.

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The batsman said that he had also turned down the offer to play in this year's Pakistan Super League (PSL) because the entire series was being held in Pakistan. He has played for the Karachi Kings in the past seasons of the series.

"There's no bigger sin for me than not playing for Bangladesh," he said. "But I had denied an offer to play in the PSL after knowing that the tournament will be entirely held in Pakistan. My family didn't agree with it."

Rahim's absence will be a blow for Bangladesh who are already without suspended all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and lost their two recent Tests in India inside three days.

"I wish good luck to our team," he said.

After weeks of negotiations with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Bangladesh had agreed to tour Pakistan earlier this month. Consensus was reached on the matter through facilitation by International Cricket Council Chairman Shashank Manohar.

He, however, said that he would consider touring in future, once other teams start visiting.

"I agree that things have improved in Pakistan, but I will gain confidence when I see teams going there for the next two years," ESPN Cricinfo quoted him as saying.

"I have been to Pakistan before, it is a great place to play cricket."

Additionally, the team's batting coach Neil McKenzie and fielding coach Ryan Cook have also refused to tour, ESPN Cricinfo said. Strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayan will not visit on account of a hand fracture, while team analyst Shrinivaas Chandrasekaran was not considered by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) because of his Indian nationality. Chandrasekaran will work with the team through Skype.

Former New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori, who is a spin consultant for Bangladesh, was also not considered by the board.

Earlier, BCB had suggested that the Twenty20 matches in Pakistan, while moving the Tests to a neutral venue. The proposal was rejected by the PCB, who insisted on hosting the Tests in Pakistan, following their successful hosting of Sri Lanka for a two-match series last month, and demanded Bangladesh to give valid reasons for refusing to visit.

According to the agreement, Bangladesh will play three T20Is in Lahore between January 24 to 27, after which they will return to Pakistan for the first ICC World Test Championship fixture, starting from February 7, in Rawalpindi.

After a gap — during which the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 will be played — Bangladesh will return to play an ODI in Karachi on April 3 and the second ICC World Test Championship fixture, starting on April 5 in Rawalpindi.

With additional input from AFP.