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Internationals 'may return' to Pakistan in 2013

October 21, 2012

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf. -File photo by AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf said international cricket may return to Pakistan next year and has already provided security plans to some cricket boards from other countries.    

''We are in negotiations with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe cricket boards,'' Ashraf said Sunday. ''I was in Colombo recently and I talked to them about sending their team.''

International cricket of a sort returned to Pakistan at the weekend when players from Sri Lanka, West Indies, South Africa and Afghanistan represented an International World XI and played two exhibition Twenty20 matches at Karachi against a Pakistan All Star XI.

The PCB chief welcomed the initiative taken by provincial sports minister Dr. Mohammad Ali Shah to organize the matches in which former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya led the International World XI with players like South African bowlers Andre Nel and Nantie Hayward and Ricardo Powell from West Indies competing in front of capacity crowds of more than 30,000 at National Stadium.

''I think these matches are a good step and Pakistan Cricket Board supported and encouraged these matches,'' Ashraf said.

''Despite being private matches these matches generated lot of enthusiasm from the fans.''

Pakistan has not hosted any test-playing nation since gunmen attacked an Sri Lanka team convoy at Lahore in March 2009.

Mainly United Arab Emirates has become Pakistan's ''home'' venue with the PCB organizing home series in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah during the last three and a half years.

Ashraf also said that the PCB is negotiating with two other cricket boards beside Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and has also sent them security plans.

''We are talking to two other boards as well, but I am not going to reveal the names,'' he said. ''We have given them security plans and hope good results will come.

''We will give you good news regarding the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan very soon, maybe in 2013. I am sure the day is not far when we have big time cricket in Karachi, Lahore and other cities.''