World XI team tour to Pakistan postponed
Karachi: A planned tour by a World XI to Pakistan to play two Twenty20 matches in an effort to revive international cricket in the country has been postponed for the second time this year.
According to the organisers, the World XI was supposed to play the two matches in Karachi on August 5 and 6 at the National Stadium but these matches have now been postponed to October.
Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, the minister for sports in Sindh province and a well known cricket administrator and organiser, who was behind the World XI matches said that the postponement had come because of the unavailability of Pakistani players.
"We want the full Pakistan team to play these two games, which are very important for Pakistan cricket. And the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has informed us that this can only be possible after the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka," Shah said.
"Intikhab Alam from the PCB called me up and informed me that if we went ahead with the matches as planned on August 5 and 6, some players might not be available to play the two matches," he explained.
The organisers have invited former stars or recently retired players from Sri Lanka, South Africa and other nations for the matches that include players like Sanath Jayasuriya, Justin Kemp, Nicky Boje, Andre Nel, Tatenda Taibu and others.
Initially the organisers had announced they would be holding the matches in May but the PCB stepped in and refused to give permission to its players for the matches as it said Dr Shah and his organising committee had gone and decided everything without seeking clearance from the board.
But after Shah met with the PCB Chairman, Zaka Ashraf there was a patch up and the board agreed to give permission for the matches and also help Shah organise these games by releasing members of the national team.
But while Shah claimed the matches would be held in October, cricket analysts believed it is highly unlikely any foreign player would want to tour Pakistan at that time because of security concerns.
"The organisers might be able to convince retired players to come and play in T20 matches but how many players they can attract and pay for and how they will provide security is another question," a former player said.
No Test playing nation has visited Pakistan since March 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.