ICC in turmoil after bomb blast
Daily Times Report
LONDON: International Cricket Council (ICC) president Malcolm Gray has described the cancelling of New Zealand’s tour as another blow for the sport in Pakistan, reported BBC.
Twelve people were killed and 34 injured by the blast, which occurred near the teams’ hotel just three hours before the scheduled start of the second Test. “At the moment everything’s up in the air, as it has been since 11 September,” Gray said. “We’re constantly working with Pakistan to restore normality but this is another blow, and in addition there is the political problem with India that stops them going there.”
The ICC has yet to decide how the cancellation will affect its Test Championship, launched a year ago with the aim of standardising playing schedules. Each Test team is supposed to play at least two Tests against the other nine at home and away in a five-year period.
New Zealand’s tour had originally been postponed in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and the resulting military action in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) director Brigadier Munawar Rana said a decision to cancel the tour had been taken after mutual consultation between the PCB and New Zealand Cricket (NZC). “We provided the New Zealand team with the best security but this was beyond our control and is very sad. “It’s too early to say that other teams will stay away from touring Pakistan but we need to make all-out efforts and we know it will be tough.”
Australia tour: Rana added cancelling the remainder of the tour would cause more financial losses for the PCB, which has already lost more than $10 million (£6.8m) in potential revenue since September. Australian Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive James Sutherland said that plans to tour Pakistan in September and October would be reviewed.
“With some months to go before we travel to Pakistan the situation is clearly quite fluid,” he said. “Given the time frame it would be inappropriate to lock into a position today. This process allows us to make well-informed decisions closer to the time. “The ACB will continue to receive advice from the relevant experts to help the board make a proper judgement on the situation in Pakistan.”
Six weeks ago, the ACB cancelled the Australian team’s tour to Zimbabwe after deciding the risk was too great following political unrest in that southern African country. The ICC agreed in October to allow Tests to be played at neutral venues. But Gray conceded that the first such series, between Pakistan and West Indies in Sharjah in February, had been problematic. “We recognise that the commercial ramifications are not as good as they could be and we’re still looking at a compensation fund for when this occurs.”