Mumbai: As the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is trying to bring back international cricket in its country and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) officials are about to leave for Pakistan to oversee the security arrangements for the proposed tour in April, the Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) believes that the risk factor for teams to travel there now is "higher" than before.
Speaking from USA, Tim May, the Chief Executive Officer of FICA, said, "As a point of interest, leading independent security advisors rate the inherent security risk of travelling to Pakistan higher now than at the time of attack on the Sri Lanka team."
Exactly three years ago, gunmen in Lahore attacked the Sri Lankan team bus on its way to the Gaddafi Stadium from the hotel. At least six policemen, escorting the team bus were killed along with the driver. Seven cricketers, an assistant coach of the Sri Lanka team and umpire (Ehsan Raza) were seriously injured.
Interestingly, no representative from the players' body has been invited to inspect the security arrangements in Pakistan.
"It is extraordinary that Boards think they cannot involve players' representatives, or more particularly their specialist security advisors, to be part of such security visits. These are the very individuals that are at risk - to deny them the opportunity to receive independent advice as to their safety, is simply unthinkable in this age," May added.
"Security assessments are for the independent experts to decide, and not for a bunch of administrators who simply aren't qualified to assess security risk or alternatively may have some other gain to derive by sending a team to a specific country.
"FICA hopes that cricket returns to Pakistan soon, but not until independent security experts can provide the all-clear from a security perspective that conditions over there have improved markedly from the point of time international cricket was withdrawn from Pakistan," May signed off.