ISLAMABAD               -            Former Test cricketer Iqbal Qasim has praised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and International Cricket Council (ICC) for scheduling Bangladesh’s complete tour in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

During an interview with The Nation on Wednesday, former chief selector Qasim said: “It is obvious that international teams will show some reluctance before agreeing to tour Pakistan. We have to understand that international cricket remained away from the country for more than a decade. We are grateful to the ICC, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), its players and officials for traveling here and helping Pakistan and international cricket, as a cricketing super power like Pakistan cannot be ignored for so long.

“Yes security was an issue, but now we have eliminated terrorism menace from the country with the effective measures taken by our government, armed forces and people. Sri Lankan team played matches in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi without any untoward incident, which shows that Pakistan is completely safe for hosting all kinds of bilateral series and mega events. I am sure that Pakistan will be the hub of international events soon.”

The former cricketer said: “The way PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, CEO Wasim Gulzar Khan and BCB officials met in UAE and ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar played instrumental role in scheduling this tour, is really commendable. It will give more confidence to the national players, as players always like to perform in front of local crowd. The demand of the national players to get more international cricket at home is being fulfilled gradually.”

Pakistan will host Bangladesh in three legs and three different cities for two Tests, one ODI and three T20Is. The three T20Is will be played in Lahore from January 24 to 27 and then Bangladesh players will return to their homeland and come here again for playing the first Test at Pindi Cricket Stadium from February 7 to 11. Then the visitors will go back and arrive again to play the one-off ODI on April 3 and second Test from April 5 to 9 in Karachi.

“I have heard from few people that the BCB agreed for full tour with a condition that Pakistan will pass on the rights of hosting Asia Cup to Bangladesh in return. Even if it is true, I think it is not a big price to let international cricket flourish in the country. So for the best interest of the county and cricket, credit must be given to the PCB, BCB and ICC. We all are eagerly waiting for Bangladesh cricket team to come and provide Pakistani players and fans a chance to enjoy international cricket at home,” Qasim concluded.