ICC pledges support for Pakistan

Updated: 14 April 2010 12:47 IST

Cricket's world governing body pledged support for Pak and expressed hope that the isolated country will play as much international cricket as possible.

ICC pledges support for Pakistan

Karachi:

Cricket's world governing body pledged support for Pakistan on Wednesday and expressed hope that the isolated country will play as much international cricket as possible, even at neutral venues.

Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is to visit Karachi on Thursday to unveil the World Twenty20 trophy and support Pakistan, left without international cricket at home due to security problems.

"It?s a great pleasure to be heading back to Pakistan. We are always assured of a warm welcome there," Lorgat said in a statement.

His will be the first visit by a top ICC official to Pakistan since Islamist militants attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3, 2009.

The attacks in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore killed eight people and wounded seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach. It severed any chance of Pakistan hosting international cricket in the near future.

The ICC was forced to strip Pakistan of its share of 14 matches in the World Cup 2011, leaving a big question mark over the country's future as an international sporting venue.

Pakistan were left to play their home series in the United Arab Emirates and will also play two Tests and two Twenty20 games against Australia in England later this year.

"Pakistan has plenty of international cricket coming up in all three formats of the game over the next few months," said Lorgat.

"That is hugely important considering it is not possible for the national team to play on home soil at present.

"The international cricket that is planned shows that Pakistan has not been isolated by the unfortunate circumstances at home. It is vital that the team continues to play regularly, even if that is at a neutral venue," said Lorgat.

The former South African player expressed hope that Pakistan can live up to their reputation in the World Twenty20, due to start in the West Indies from April 30.

"Pakistan is the defending ICC World Twenty20 champion, so I have no doubt Shahid Afridi and his team will be working hard to retain the title they deservedly won in England last year," said Lorgat.

Pakistan, led by Afridi, will fly out to the Caribbean on April 24. They are placed in Group A along with Australia and Bangladesh.

"There is a real excitement building in the West Indies now and it looks like it?s going to be a tournament to remember and for those who cannot travel to the Caribbean, there is a good television coverage," said Lorgat.

Pakistan Cricket Board chief operating officer Wasim Bari praised the ICC for having Lorgat come to the country.

"Although it's a small step, it's encouraging for us that ICC is hosting a function in Pakistan and show it's commitment towards us," Bari told AFP.



Topics : Cricket
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