Najam Sethi, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, announced on Wednesday (September 13) that there will be more tours by World XIs to Pakistan in the next two years, leading to a gradual revival of international cricket in the country.
Pakistan had only hosted Zimbabwe since the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus suspended international cricket in the country.
Security fears with militants disturbing the peace at regular intervals had forced foreign teams to stay away from Pakistan. The PCB did try to convince Bangladesh but failed twice, and Windies and Ireland too refused to tour on one occasion each.
Sethi said the perceptions were changing. “A few years back, teams were reluctant to come to Pakistan over security fears but with successful military operations, we have seen that 90-95% terrorism has abated,” Sethi told Wisden India. “So perceptions have changed and we hope for gradual revival of international cricket.”
Sethi said help from the International Cricket Council and from Giles Clarke, the head of the Pakistan Task Force, had paved the way for more tours by World XIs.
“We will have tours by World XIs in 2018 and then 2019 and this will gradually help us restore the confidence of other teams and countries,” said Sethi.
The PCB are also hopeful of Sri Lanka returning to Pakistan to play a Twenty20 International in Lahore on October 29, at the end of their full series in the UAE.
They also hope Windies will agree to three Twenty20 Internationals in November which will help them approach a bigger team — likely to be South Africa — to tour in the next two years.