Pakistan will not tour Bangladesh this year as per schedule; the PCB said the series has been postponed indefinitely by mutual consent. Pakistan was to play two Tests, three ODIs and a T20I series in Bangladesh in July and August.
“We had spoken about the possibility of hosting them [Bangladesh in Pakistan] this year,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan told ESPNcricinfo. “Pakistan have now toured Bangladesh twice without them reciprocating, and we feel we cannot tour Bangladesh for the third straight time. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the tour, and will explore another window in the next year or so.”
Bangladesh last toured Pakistan in 2007-08, for a five-ODI series. Since then, Pakistan have toured Bangladesh twice, in 2011-12 and 2015. The PCB had invited Bangladesh for a two-match T20I series this year, only for the BCB to rebuff the invitation.
On Pakistan’s last visit to Bangladesh in 2015, the PCB had reportedly taken US$ 325,000 and justified it by saying the series had “technically” been Pakistan’s home series. This year the BCB rejected all such proposals to share revenue, though it was open to playing at a neutral venue if necessary.
The PCB, however, was not keen on that option. It is understood the Pakistan board feels that hosting teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the UAE – its adopted home – is not financially viable.
Relations between the Pakistan and Bangladesh boards have been sour in the past. During the Zaka Ashraf regime, the PCB had stopped communication with the BCB and barred its cricketers – who had already been auctioned to various teams – from featuring in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Bangladesh were the fourth team – after West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka – to refuse to travel to Pakistan in the last two years. Nevertheless, the PCB is looking to build on hosting an incident-free PSL final in Lahore in March by inviting a team of international cricketers to play a T20 series in September. However, even the PSL final – touted a success – was marred by Quetta Gladiators’ entire foreign contingent deciding against travelling to Pakistan for the final.
In another development, members of the ICC board were briefed on the security situation in Pakistan. According to Shaharyar, Giles Clarke, the head of the ICC task force on Pakistan, confirmed that Lahore would host a World XI in September.
“We wanted to share the series between Lahore and Karachi but since the security assessment was focused on Lahore only, it was decided to restrict the series to Lahore for now,” Shaharyar said. “The presentation about the PSL final was well received and all members understand that the World XI tour will further pave the way for major international cricket in the country. They were supportive overall and we are looking forward to host some of the top players of the world.”