LONDON: England and Australia should tour Pakistan to facilitate regular international cricket in the South Asian country, said Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Kumar Sangakkara.
The best teams have avoided Pakistan since the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in which six players were injured and eight Pakistanis, including six policemen, died.
Big hitter Sangakkara, who was part of that team, returned to Pakistan with an MCC team in February this year, but the top teams have stayed away from security concerns.
"It doesn't matter whether an Asian side goes there or a secondary side in terms of global prominence when it comes to having security measures," Sangakkara told The Cricket Show on Sky Sports Cricket. "I think it is important that England or Australia, including South Africa, decide to do a tour when security is assured and they have those discussions; the MCC tour will be a precursor to that."
In December Pakistan played its first test match on its homeland since March 2009 when it hosted Sri Lanka in Karachi, while Bangladesh also played a test match at Rawalpindi in February.
Bangladesh divided its tour into three parts despite the final stage being suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sangakkara, who has scored more than 28,000 international races for Sri Lanka, agreed that it was too early for an extended tour of Pakistan.
"I don't think they will ever see a series of five-round matches in the near future along with a one-day international series of consecutive plays," said the former Sri Lankan captain. "I think it will be more a case of you playing two test games, taking a break, coming back and playing three games a day."
"It is not exactly the right time for extended tours, but I am sure that with the right communication and established measures, players can go back and play high quality cricket, have a good time and bring cricket back to Pakistan. "
Pakistan has offered to host iconic world tournaments after the governing International Cricket Council invited to express interest in the events in the 2023-31 cycle.
Posted in Dawn, May 2, 2020