Monday, 21 October 2019

We miss you: Giles Clarke tells Pakistan

LAHORE: Head of International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Pakistan Task Force Giles Clarke on Saturday said on behalf of the international cricket community that they miss Pakistan. Giles, who is on a two-day tour to Pakistan, is visiting the country to help the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in boosting their finances in the absence of international matches. He ended his address by saying: “I apologise that we are not having this press conference in either Punjabi or Urdu. But I did want to leave with one message, not from me, but if I was personifying international cricket community, mujhe apki bohat kami mehsoos hui (We really miss you),” said Clarke.

Also, in his address to the media in Lahore, he passed a tongue-in-cheek comment to all the young reporters sitting in front of him. “It’s been a pleasure to come again to Lahore. I first came to Lahore in 1973, which, taking a look at the front row here, is before some of you were born,” he said. Clarke also clarified the reason for his visit by saying that all full members of the ICC understand Pakistan’s frustration and want to do something about it. “I am on a fact-finding mission. I’ve been asked to come here by the ICC board and by the ICC chairman. I am accompanied by ICC’s security advisors. ICC cares deeply about it full members; they are the life blood of the organisation. We, the other full members of the ICC, recognise the deep frustration which is undoubtedly felt by the Pakistani cricket fans since they have been unable, due to security problems, to host other international teams for a long period of time,” he explained.

He continued by saying that ICC wants Pakistani public to once again see their heroes in action. “Those are grave concerns to us all and to all the cricket lovers worldwide. So we regard it as very important that we do what we can as effectively as we can to help create a situation where international cricket can come back to Pakistan. And the Pakistani public can have the opportunity of seeing their heroes in action.” The 63-year-old said his team were briefed about the current safety and security measures taken by authorities in Lahore for international teams’ visit. “We’ve seen a series of presentations on security. We’ve been able to see very significant work that has been invested in, and invested very wisely in how safety and security will be made possible for visiting international cricket teams and also for the ordinary Pakistani public – who I am sure have no desire to find themselves in a ghastly terrorist incident,” he said.

However, he warned that one bad incident can push Pakistan back to square one. “As we move forward to seeing what can be done, one has to note a little caution in that we all know that one terrible incident can push things backwards again. So, we are hoping to move forward constructively.” He thanked PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan and PSL Chairman Najam Sethi for their work on trying to bring cricket back to Pakistan. “I am very grateful to my friends Shaharyar and Sethi for all the hard work they’ve put in. I’ve been very impressed with all the work that has been done to make Lahore a safe city for its citizens, for visitors and for international cricket teams.” Clarke concluded by saying that Pakistan needs to change a lot of perception before international cricket can fully return to the country. “This is not an easy road; we should not assume that it is going to be simple. There is a considerable amount of perception that needs to be changed and there is considerable amount of information that needs to be shared but I am most grateful to authorities in Pakistan for their efforts,” he said.

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