Mani slams PCB over security 'delay'

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Former ICC president Ehsan Mani has accused the PCB of dragging its feet in the bid to restore international matches to the country.

Updated: July 26, 2010 16:04 IST
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A Pakistani who was once world cricket's top administrator has accused the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) of dragging its feet in the bid to restore international matches to the country.

Pakistan became a no-go area for cricket's leading nations after an armed attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March last year killed eight people, as well as injuring seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach.

But Ehsan Mani, a Pakistani who was president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) from 2003 to 2006, said the PCB's failure to submit a report on the attack meant the necessary first step for restoring the confidence of the world cricket community in Pakistan had still to be taken.

"The PCB has yet to submit a report on the Lahore attacks to the ICC, and unless and until they do so teams will continue to refuse to tour Pakistan," Mani told AFP.

"By not submitting the report, the PCB has not been able to form a strategy with the ICC and until the member boards analyse that report they will continue to hesitate when it comes to touring Pakistan," said Mani, an accountant who was born in Pakistan but has long since settled in England.

Pakistan was due to stage matches in next year's World Cup. But the attack on the Sri Lanka bus saw the tournament restricted to the three remaining Asian Test nations of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Even before the Lahore incident, the likes of Australia repeatedly refused to tour Pakistan, where thousands have died in a decade of conflict.

The security situation led Pakistan to play its recent 'home' series against Australia, which ended with a three-wicket second Test win for Pakistan at Headingley on Saturday, in England.

And in the last two years, Pakistan 'home' games have also been staged in the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.

Mani said the way to reintroduce international cricket to Pakistan was to start with tours involving some of the sport's less high-profile sides.

"I think it will take at least two years to revive cricket in Pakistan, but firstly there should be low key tours with teams like Kenya, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan so that confidence is restored."

Pakistan play the first of four Tests, two Twenty20 and five one-day internationals against England at Trent Bridge starting on Thursday.

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