Amid continued uncertainty over whether the national team would get the security clearance to tour Pakistan in January-February 2020, the Bangladesh Cricket Board [BCB] are mulling whether to propose shifting the tour to a neutral venue if they do not get the green signal from the Bangladesh government.
According to the Future Tours Programme, Bangladesh are scheduled to play three T20Is and two Tests in Pakistan.
“If we get the clearance from the government, we can start discussions with the Pakistan board but we are yet to get the clearance. Everything will depend on what the government wants. We will definitely sit with the player to take their opinion as well if the government gives clearance for the tour,’’ BCB cricket operations chairman Akram Khan told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.
A delegation from the Bangladesh government recently visited Pakistan for a security assessment and on the basis of that, the BCB had sent the national women’s team and the Bangladesh under-16 team to tour Pakistan earlier this year. The same delegation is to advise the Bangladesh government and the BCB on going ahead with the national team’s tour of Pakistan.
Akram said that there was a discussion about playing the Test and T20I series in separate segments, but the Pakistan Cricket Board [PCB] has already declined that proposal. According to media reports, the PCB believes that having a series split to two locations would have a negative impact on the host country in terms of hosting future international series and the Pakistan Super League T20.
“But if we don’t get the clearance from the government for any reason, we have to discuss playing at a neutral venue. If we get the clearance, then it will be different. So, at this moment, we have to wait on the security report from the government,” the former Bangladesh captain added.
The Bangladesh men’s team has not been given the green signal to travel to Pakistan since a terrorist attack in Lahore on the touring Sri Lankan national team’s bus in 2009. However, West Indies and Sri Lanka have visited for short tours, which included only ODI and T20I matches.
All eyes will be on the BCB now as Sri Lanka are set to tour Pakistan with a full-strength side for a Test series this month.
Akram however informed the government approval will have nothing to do with other teams touring Pakistan.
“Who is going there is not the issue for us. If we get the clearance from the government, we’ll think about the tour. As I said earlier, at this moment we are waiting for the government’s suggestion,” he concluded.
Since the Bangladesh players were in the vicinity of a terrorist attack on a mosque in Christchurch in March this year, the BCB have started sending a security team before touring any country.