FICA terms Pakistan unsafe for foreign players even as Taliban open fire on Afghan cricketer
Islamabad: In an expected development, The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) chief Tony Irish has described the security threat to foreign players and teams in Pakistan as “excessive and unmanageable”.
On the same day, Afghanistan cricketer Shapoor Zadran was reportedly attacked by a group of Pakistan-supported Taliban gunmen, who opened fire at the vehicle he was travelling in along with his brother.
The assailants reportedly escaped. Though the motive of the attack and the identity of the attackers remained unclear, it brought back memories of the attack witnessed in Pakistan in 2009 when terrorists attacked the team bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team.
Irish’s comments come in light of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) extending an invitation to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to tour the country for two Twenty20 Internationals in March at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore, reports CMC.
“Players from around the world affiliated to FICA do, however, and seek advice from FICA relating to security risks of playing in various countries.
“We rely on reports from our independent security consultants. In the past, the consistent advice from the security experts has been that risks to foreign players and teams of playing in Pakistan are excessive and unmanageable,” he added.
International matches in Pakistan haven’t been held in the last seven years, following an attack on a bus transporting the Sri Lanka team to a match that saw six players injured and the same number of police officers killed.
Two years ago, however, Zimbabwe became the only full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to visit Pakistan for a brief limited-overs series – and that trip too, was marred by a suicide bomb blast outside the Gaddafi Stadium during the final match.
The PCB, however, is eager to revive international matches in the country. Irish, however, said FICA continues to make its own security assessments to keep players around the world informed of the situation.
“We are in the process of obtaining an updated report from the security consultants and will provide recommendations to players as soon as we have received this,” he said.