According to Shahryar Khan, a former diplomat and ex-chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, foreign teams like India are unlikely to travel to his country to play cricket. International cricket deserted Pakistan after the 2009 Lahore terror attacks and considering the country's volatile political climate, teams are unlikely to tour in a hurry, feels Khan.
The 79-year-old Khan, who is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's special envoy for improving relations with India, said on Friday that Pakistan is still very unsafe for visiting teams to tour. "I can't see any international cricket team coming to Pakistan in the foreseeable future," Khan told a leading newspaper.
Khan was appointed as PCB chief from 2003-2006 by former President Pervez Musharraf. He says that cricket revival is high on the agenda in Pakistan.
"It is of prime importance that cricket is revived in Pakistan. Nothing unites people as much as cricket, not even Father of the Nation, Jinnah. From a banker to a camel cart rider, Pakistanis, like Indians, are obsessed with the game. However, security threat to international teams is a reality. If the Sri Lankan cricket team can be attacked, every other team is vulnerable."
Pakistan have failed to host any international cricket since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus by armed militants in Lahore in March 2009 that left eight people dead and seven Lankan players wounded.
Since then, Pakistan have 'hosted' their home games abroad at neutral venues like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Khan advises the current cricket authorities to start inviting the overseas Under-19 and Under-21 teams to play in Pakistan, in a bid to bring back international cricket.
"To bring the confidence back, the PCB could start with hosting U-19 or U-21 tournaments," Khan said.
Story first published on: Saturday, 10 August 2013 12:24 IST