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PCB confident of international team`s return to Pak next year

Lahore: PCB chairman Ejaz Butt today said he was confident about international cricket`s return to Pakistan as early as next year.

After visiting the training camp of the Chinese cricket team at the National Cricket Academy here Butt said the Pakistan Cricket Board was working on a systematic plan to convince international teams to visit the troubled-torn nation.

"I am very hopeful that we can get back international cricket in Pakistan sometime next year," the PCB chief said. Pakistan is presently paying host to the Chinese team which is preparing for the Asian Games and also an Under-19 Bangladesh academy side.

"Our idea is that we must encourage associate member countries to send their players and teams over to Pakistan for training or to play matches," Butt said.

"Once we can get associate members to send players and teams regularly to Pakistan then the big nations will also follow soon. The idea is to convince the outside world that Pakistan can host international matches despite prevailing situation," he said.

Butt said PCB was happy with the fact that ICC associate members were more than willing to utilise the cricketing facilities in Pakistan.

"We are happy that Afghanistan took use of our facilities and now the Chinese players are here and they are very happy to be in Pakistan," he said.

The PCB has deputed its director-general cricket Javed Miandad to personally help the Chinese team.

Butt said PCB had also offered to host a team from Zimbabwe anytime this year.

"We are regularly organising domestic cricket matches because we want to keep our cricket going. At the moment we are satisfied that we are getting to play lot of international matches away from home but sooner or later we need to resume international cricketing activities at home," he said.

Butt, who leaves for the West Indies tomorrow for the Twenty20 World Cup, said PCB was working on its own method of paving the way for international teams tour to Pakistan.

Former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail also said he sees no logic behind international teams refusal to tour Pakistan, especially when PCB is implementing specific security plans on the ICC`s advice following last year`s attack on the Sri Lankan team.

"If the Pakistan board is now implementing all approved security plans of the ICC as are also enforced by other countries then it is time the ICC played its part in reviving international cricket in Pakistan," Sohail said.

PTI

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