We no longer have neutral seats, the PCB official says

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A senior official said on Friday that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) would no longer consider holding its own series in neutral venues, adding that the country was safe to host international games.

New Zealand came to Pakistan for the first time since 2005, but were left without a match due to security threats. England also decided to cancel its tour of Pakistan, saying it was in the best interest of the players.

“It is out of the equation now because the security situation in Pakistan is normal and we have everything to host any international team. We no longer have neutral places,” a PCB official said.

Pakistan has hosted some of its own series in the United Arab Emirates since the major Test playing nations avoided touring Pakistan after the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team.

International cricket gradually started in Pakistan and the PSL was organized.

After two tours were canceled, the PCB approached some boards to organize an international series locally ahead of the DCP World Cup, but now it has decided to organize a domestic event.

Initial talks were held with some teams including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, but it was decided to focus on the National T20 Championship. The officer said.

He said the Sri Lankan players had to qualify for the Super-12 stage and would be training camp in Oman from October 17 before the World Cup qualifiers.

“Bangladesh agreed to send a B team and Zimbabwe was also ready to come, but after discussions, we decided it would be better to focus on the domestic event as it is a short time,” he said.

The official said the cancellation of the home series against New Zealand and England was a major setback for the country, but was heartened to see that the cricket world was sympathetic to Pakistan cricket.

“Almost everyone believes that Pakistan cricket is badly treated and deserves proper international cricket.”

The board now plans to send the World Cup squad and bookings to the UAE so they can settle properly after the end of the isolation period.

When asked about tours to the West Indies and Australia, the official said the board was in touch with them.

“After the withdrawal of New Zealand and England we know that the situation is not perfect but we can only make better security arrangements for the satisfaction of the tourists. We are now ready for all situations,” he said.



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