KARACHI: The officials of the Malaysian cricket team, which was on a 10-day to Lahore, had termed Pakistan a safe country for holding international cricket events.The visiting cricket officials also said they would be visiting Pakistan again in April on a preparatory tour. “Pakistan is an ideal country to hold top cricket events. As far as security is concerned, it was perfectly fine. We enjoyed playing cricket here,” Shankar Retinam, manager of the Malaysian cricket team as saying. “Things are quite good for competitive international cricket and our tour ended [without any security concerns],” he said. The Malaysian team manager further insisted Pakistan has been deprived of international cricket in the last many years, and thus, called for revival of cricket there. Pakistan have not hosted any international cricket tournaments since the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009,when six Pakistani Policemen were killed and some of the visiting players were injured.
Stating that Pakistan has a rich cricket history, which is evident from its achievements at the international level, Retinam said, “It is unfortunate that no international cricket has been played in Pakistan [lately].” “No international cricket in a country means the upcoming talent will have lesser opportunities to learn from the best in the field, he added. Echoing similar views, Malaysian cricket team coach Bilal Asad, who is a former first-class Pakistani player, said there is no security issue in Pakistan as far as playing international cricket is concerned. “There is a perception that exaggerates the security concerns in Pakistan, which is not correct,” Asad said, adding that their team was faced with the same “propaganda” before they left for the tour. Earlier, the Federation of International Cricketers` Associations (FICA) has issued a warning to players thinking of playing in the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore after circulating a memo to players, players` associations and players` agents that spoke of “an extremely elevated” risk level in Pakistan. Following which, the cricket federation was fiercely criticised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who responded by calling FICA`s approach as “careless and cavalier.”