|Pakistan cricket takes a step forward with Bangladesh agreeing to tour despite safety issues [AFP]
Bangladesh have agreed to tour Pakistan for two matches later this month, the first full internationals in the country since March 2009 when Sri Lankan cricketers and officials were attacked by gunmen in Lahore.
Foreign teams have shunned Pakistan since the attack, which killed six Pakistani policemen, meaning they have had to play their "home" matches at neutral venues.
Several Sri Lankan players were also wounded in the incident, which also led to matches at the 2011 World Cup being taken away from Pakistan.
As part of the short tour, Bangladesh will play one one-day international on April 29 and one Twenty20 international the next day in Lahore, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement on Sunday.
"Since last year we have been trying our best to convince international teams to tour Pakistan. This tour by Bangladesh should eventually help us convince other boards that it is safe to play in Pakistan"
PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf thanked the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and the government for their support for the tour.
"Since last year we have been trying our best to convince international teams to tour Pakistan. This tour by Bangladesh should eventually help us convince other boards that it is safe to play in Pakistan," Ashraf said.
"The situation has gradually improved in Pakistan and we will provide the best security arrangements for the Bangladesh team with the cooperation of the government. The tour is of great importance to us."
The ICC board has asked the PCB to immediately provide a comprehensive security plan.
The ICC Anti Corruption and Security Unit will then commission a localised risk assessment to determine if the officials and staff are appropriately protected by the proposed security plan.
Last month, cricket's world governing body said it may waive its requirement for neutral match officials if the proposed
series went ahead.
Under the ICC's standard playing conditions for ODIs, one of the two on-field umpires and the match referee must be drawn from countries not taking part in a match.
"The public of Pakistan have been deprived of cricket and we felt that we needed to support them," BCB president Mustafa Kamal was quoted as saying in the statement.
"The reception we received when we toured Lahore and Karachi on our security visit was overwhelming."