Karachi: Pakistan cricket authorities on Thursday voiced astonishment at what they called an "extremely disturbing" development after a court in Dhaka ordered Bangladesh to postpone their tour of Pakistan over security fears.
Bangaladesh were set to play a 50-over game and a Twenty20 international on April 29 and 30 in Lahore, the first international cricket matches in Pakistan for three years. But the High Court in Dhaka ordered the team to delay the visit by at least four weeks while Bangladesh cricket authorities explained why the tour should go ahead despite security worries.
International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since militants launched a deadly attack on the Sri Lankan team bus during the third Test in Lahore in March 2009.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) released a strongly-worded statement voicing their fury at the postponement of the Bangladesh tour. "It is astonishing to note that a matter lacking any legal issue has been dragged in the court by petitioners who appear to have vested interest and want to jeopardise Pakistan-Bangladesh cricketing relations," the statement said.
"It is extremely disturbing to note for the PCB and Pakistan cricket fans and world cricketing nations that such an adverse order has been passed to block a bilateral cricket series." Pakistan had hoped the tour would encourage other foreign teams to visit and ultimately pave the way to a full resumption of home international series.
Former Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan said he thought the postponement was strange. "During this whole period, I thought there was uncertainty, but this postponement will definitely hurt Pakistan's sincere efforts to revive cricket in Pakistan," Khan told AFP.
PCB chief operating officer, Subhan Ahmed, agreed the postponement would damage Pakistan's attempts to revive home internationals and leave a gap in the team's calendar. "We do not have any alternate plans because teams are busy in international cricket and we cannot arrange any team for such a short trip," Ahmed said, while still hoping Bangladesh can tour after the court case.