With the ‘successful’ completion of the domestic Twenty20 Super Eight tournament in Rawalpindi, there have been calls for brining international cricket back to the country.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been trying to convince its international counterparts that the country is ready to host international matches again. One such attempt led to inviting Bangladesh for a short series this month (April) before Pakistan leave for their tour of Sri Lanka at the end of May. While officials, including the chief, of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) visited Pakistan for assessment of the security situation, there has been no confirmation from the BCB about the tour.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, sent their one-day team for a series against the Pakistan ‘A’ (reserves) team late last year. The three-match tour was completed without any problems but failed to attract large crowds at the stadiums.
The T20 Super Eights, however, were a great hit with the crowds. The Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium was a full house through out the eight-day tournament, as fans poured in to watch there national heroes from up close. The broadcasters and the organisers reiterated the PCB’s aim of bringing international cricket back all through the tournament, with vox pops with officials of the board, sponsors and fans. The final word came from the winning captain Shoaib Malik, who has said that Pakistan is ready to host international teams again.
While all the signs in Rawalpindi were heartening and PCB seems very serious about its mission, the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team remains a gory reminder of how bad things had gone back then.
Based on the success of the domestic tournament, passion of the local fans and reassurances given by the PCB, is it right to say that Pakistan is safe for international cricket?
Will cricket boards feel safe sending their teams to Pakistan?
If not, what additional measures should the PCB take to convince the international cricket community?