London:The International Cricket Council does not see cricket returning to Pakistan in the near future and said it will take a final call on the strife-torn nation's status as a co-host of the 2011 World Cup in its meeting at Dubai next month.
"I believe that there is currently great reluctance - and rightly so - for players to return at this time," ICC President David Morgan said at a news conference at Lord's on Tuesday.
"But the future situation needs not be perpetuated as it is today. We must not believe that Pakistan is going to be unsafe forever and ever, and we must hope that it won't be unsafe for too long.
"Teams should not be expected to go there in the immediate future but things can change and change quickly," Morgan said.
Regarding Pakistan's chances about hosting the World Cup in 2011, the ICC chief said, "ICC World Cup is due to be staged in Indian subcontinent shared between four countries, that is the current plan and the board will have to think very carefully about the extent to which Pakistan would be used for the event."
But Morgan also made it clear that safety and security of players and officials would be of paramount interest and that would top the agenda when deciding on Pakistan's future to host the World Cup matches.
"It is a very important event but the safety, security of the players and officials is very important and the board will take that into account in its meeting in April in Dubai.
"There is an organising committee chaired by ICC Vice-President Sharad Pawar and he and his team will be engaged on the very topic," he added.
ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat also doesn't see international cricket returning to the nation in the foreseeable future but cautioned against any knee-jerk reaction.
"We need to be careful of a knee-jerk reaction. The World Cup is still two years away," Lorgat said.
Lorgat said Pakistan ought to start playing in neutral venues or else risk not playing at all.
"It is better that Pakistan chooses playing cricket in neutral venues rather than not at all. We should encourage the game to continue and it is a question to be answered if it is in Pakistan or some neutral venues with Pakistan as the home country," he said.
Morgan, meanwhile, made it clear that the ICC had not been asked to make a security assessment of Sri Lanka's tour to Pakistan because the countries had reached a bilateral agreement to play without mediation and in such situation the responsibility entirely lies with the teams.
"The ICC only becomes directly involved in safety and security if there is a disagreement between the host and visitor. There was no disagreement and we weren't involved in assessing security," he said.
Regarding the Indian Premier League which is scheduled to be held in April, Morgan said players should consider carefully before taking a decision.
"IPL is a domestic event controlled by the BCCI. It is not an international event, so it is difficult to comment. But all cricketers should look carefully and take a decision. We need to revisit safety."