Dubai: Bangladesh will tour Pakistan later this month, becoming the first top level international cricket team to play in the country since 2009, the International Cricket Council announced Sunday. The ICC executive board, which is meeting in Dubai, was informed by the countries' cricket boards that the tour will take place and include a one-day international and one Twenty20 match to be held in Lahore. The ODI is scheduled for April 29 and the T20 match will be played a day later at the same venue.
"I want to thank the BCB and the Bangladesh government for their support for this tour," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf said in a statement. Bangladesh Cricket Board president Mustafa Kamal also welcomed the chance to tour Pakistan, which has been a no-go zone for international cricket since a terrorist attack on a Sri Lanka team bus in 2009 in which six police officials were killed and several players were injured.
"The public of Pakistan have been deprived of cricket and we felt that we needed to support them," Kamal said in a statement. "The reception we received when we toured Lahore and Karachi on our security visit was overwhelming."
ICC has confirmed that both boards have agreed to play one ODI and one T20 later this month.
Efforts to bring back international cricket to Pakistan have stalled due to security concerns stemming from a series of suicide bombings and an offensive against the Taliban in the northwest of the country. A security delegation led by Kamal visited Pakistan last month and got a briefing on proposed security measures from Pakistan government officials.
The delegation also visited Lahore and were shown a mock demonstration of how the teams would be escorted from hotel to the ground. But until this week, the PCB was still awaiting a response from the BCB, which has submitted its security report to the government for clearance of the tour. That prompted Ashraf to say that future cricket ties with Bangladesh would depend on whether they agree to the tour.
The tour announcement comes as the ICC is considering Kamal's nomination for a vice-president post on the board. Kamal appeared to be the favorite to replace the outgoing Alan Isaac — until Ashraf's warning. Without the support of Pakistan, it is unlikely the nomination would be approved by the board.