Doors of international cricket opening for Karachi and Peshawar
LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shahryar Muahmmad Khan on Sunday said doors of international cricket were opening for Karachi and Peshawar and urged the followers of the game to consider the Indian series on a national level rather than making it a regional or provincial issue.
Shahryar, in a statement, admitted that he felt sad for the people of Karachi and Peshawar from the bottom of his heart. “I am sad, there is no doubt about that. But I am happy that the Indian cricket team is coming to Pakistan after nearly 15 years and has also agreed to play one day internationals in Karachi and Peshawar which were previously branded as no-go areas by the top teams.”
Referring to the itinerary for the Indian cricket team’s tour to Pakistan, the PCB chairman stated that he had two primary objectives in mind with regard to the forthcoming series. “The first was that the tour should proceed on schedule and second that Karachi and Peshawar should not be bypassed again and matches definitely scheduled in these cities. Both these objectives had been achieved.
“Initially, Test matches had been scheduled in both Karachi and Peshawar. However, with the announcement of the Indian elections, there was a clear indication that India would seek a postponement or cancellation of the tour in order to avoid the high sensitivity cricket visit over-lapping with the Indian elections.
“Mr Vajpayee’s confirmation of the tour removed all doubts but we needed to be sensitive to India’s security concerns. An Indian team paid a week-long visit to all the centres where matches were scheduled and indicated that while they were fully satisfied with ground and hotel arrangements, the 8-9 days stay of the Indian team in Karachi and Peshawar for Test matches would be a cause of concern for the BCCI and government. On their return, the Indian position was confirmed. However, they agreed to play one day matches at Karachi and Peshawar, confirming their earlier indication that these two cities would not be by-passed.”
The PCB chairman added: “I am myself a resident of Karachi and wanted to schedule a Test in Pakistan’s largest city for my just series as Chairman.”
“India’s decision to play one day internationals in Karachi and Peshawar is a welcome development since it opens the doors for India as indeed for all other countries to resume Tests and one day internationals at Karachi and Peshawar,” Mr Shaharyar said.
He stressed that the itinerary includes Karachi and Peshawar for one day internationals should, therefore, be seen as the beginning of a welcome phase for cricket in these cities and needs to be viewed at the national rather than at provincial level. He expressed the hope that the cricket loving public of Karachi and Peshawar would show their discipline and sporting attitude in welcoming the Indian team, thereby ensuring that in future all reservations to playing in these historic cities are dispelled.