Pakistan board contest FICA safety concerns

With the start of Pakistan Super League only two months away, there's disagreement over whether players will be safe.
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2013 15:20
Former chief exec of ICC Haroon Lorgat is confident about safety of Pakistan ahead of competition [AFP]

The organisers of Pakistan's first Twenty20 league said on Tuesday they are confident of attracting top international cricketers despite the global players' union FICA raising security concerns.

Haroon Lorgat, an adviser to the Pakistan Super League, told reporters in Lahore that FICA's doubts over security in Pakistan 'doesn't help the confidence of some players' but 'fortunately there are many (players) who have already committed' to play in the league, which starts March 26.

FICA chief executive Tim May told the BBC on Tuesday that he has advised its members to avoid playing in the PSL on security grounds and he thinks majority of current international cricketers 'will heed our advice.'

But Lorgat said he knew the security situation in Pakistan much better after touring Lahore for the fourth time over the last two months to assist the Pakistan Cricket Board in organsing the PSL.

Lorgat, who also served as chief executive for the International Cricket Council, said he knew how foreign cricketers feel about playing in Pakistan - a country which has not hosted a Test playing nation since gunmen attacked a Sri Lanka team convoy in 2009.

"We know what the challenges are, it's reality, but we will come over those challenges,'' he said.

No big name

While venues for the event have yet to be finalised, Lorgat hinted that some games might be staged in Lahore, the capital of the Punjab province and the city where the Sri Lankan team came under attack four years ago.

"I'm sure government in Punjab would do all it can that the event is safe," he said.

PCB chief executive officer Subhan Ahmed said his board doesn't recognise FICA.

"So when we don't endorse them, it makes no sense to go into discussions with them," he said.

"As far as we are concerned we have no direct relationship with FICA."

"We've been talking to many players from around the world... We would like to go ahead and announce their names at a particular time when we've got the pool ready"

PSL managing director Salman Sarwar But

Ahmed also said that the PCB has written to several cricket boards around the world to release their players for the PSL. He said no player will be accepted without the proper certificate from his respective cricket board.

The PSL is yet to secure a big name for the tournament but has promised to divide at least 30 foreign players between five city-based teams. 

"We've been talking to many players from around the world," said PSL managing director Salman Sarwar Butt.

"We would like to go ahead and announce their names at a particular time when we've got the pool ready."

The Pakistani government's term is likely to expire in March before the tournament begins. An interim government then takes over before the general elections which are expected later in the spring.

Butt said PSL organisers are expecting a smooth transition of the government and so far it has no plans to shift the event from Pakistan.

"Our direction is very clear, we are looking at Pakistan to hold this tournament," he said.

"Unless something untoward happens, only then we will see."


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