PCB-BCB standoff over Pakistan tour continues

Bangladesh’s T20I series in Pakistan may be less than three weeks, but there’s still uncertainty over the tour.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) want to split the tour into two legs – they’re happy to play the T20Is first – but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) wants to host the series in one go, promising state-level security, like they did when Sri Lanka toured last month for a two-Test series.

However, Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the BCB’s chief executive, wants the players and coaches get a first-hand experience of the security arrangements and life, under tight vigilance, on tour before committing to returning for the Test matches.

“We are in communication with the PCB,” Chowdhury said on Thursday. “As we said before, we want to play the T20Is [first] in Pakistan. We want our players, coaching staff and security team to see what it’s like, after which we want to decide if we want to play Tests in Pakistan or at a neutral venue.”

Last week, BCB president Nazmul Hassan said few senior players voiced their concerns of touring Pakistan for the T20Is. However, 23 Bangladesh players also registered for the PSL draft, fully knowing the tournament was to take place in Pakistan.

Russell Domingo, the head coach, was quoted in the local media as saying he would be willing to tour Pakistan if he was asked to. ESPNcricinfo understands the BCB will put together a side immediately should both boards arrive at a middle ground.

PCB allowed Sri Lanka to split their tour into two legs, with a number of senior players, who were missing for the T20Is, touring for the Tests after receiving positive feedback. But Pakistan’s packed schedule may not allow them to split the Bangladesh tour.

The PSL is set to run from February 20 to March 22, after which the PCB will host their domestic one-day competition. Early in the summer, they tour Netherlands and Ireland followed by an England tour. Then, as they play the Asia Cup in September in preparation for the T20 World Cup.

Bangladesh had sent their Under-16 boys team and their senior women’s team to Pakistan last year. These were perceived to be steps towards the resumption of cricket by the senior men’s team in the country.

However, BCB’s stance has caused some friction within Pakistan’s cricket circles, with their chairman, captain and coach all voicing out strongly against their reluctance.

The PCB wants BCB to take independent feedbacks from Sri Lanka Cricket and the ICC. The situation is somewhat similar to what transpired in 2012, when the then BCB chief Mustafa Kamal did a u-turn after initially committing to tour Pakistan. That led to the PCB revoking NOC’s of Pakistan players for the Bangladesh Premier League.

While relations have somewhat returned to normalcy, the situation could soon either simmer and hit another low or reach a cooling point depending on which way the BCB goes this time.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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