LAHORE - The news of the postponement of the Bangladesh tour to Pakistan may have been overshadowed by the tragic events in Islamabad, but questions continue to be asked about the impact on the immediate future of International cricket in the country.

In exclusive comments to Sarfraz Nawaz, the outspoken former Pakistan fast bowler, spoke of his dismay at the manner in which the tour had been postponed and felt that there was more to this affair then just matters of security.

Whilst it may be true that the decision of the Bangladesh board on the back of a court stay order has shocked cricket fans round the country, Sarfraz Nawaz chose to put some perspective on the matter and also criticized the role of the ICC.

“What’s happened here is not good and it’s a bad omen for the Pakistan Cricket Board –It would have been much better if the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had declined to tour Pakistan in the first place instead of taking us through these hoops! I also feel that the ICC must bear some blame for this postponement. If they had wanted it, this tour could have happened. ICC chose to put out mixed signals such as on the appointment of match officials where they suggested that they would not send their own. This was also used as a basis for the postponement”

Sarfraz was also not entirely convinced that the BCB decision was based purely on fears regarding security and felt that some political pressure may have been at play behind such important decisions.

“I had personally attended the press conference in which the Bangladeshi security delegation had shown their appreciation for the arrangements when they visited Pakistan so I really don’t think that was an issue. Don’t also forget that the Bangladeshi PM had left the ground before awarding the trophy to Pakistan at the Asia Cup. Later on, we saw agitation on the streets in Dhaka and in that respect, the court order was a logical conclusion to this drama. Security was not the real Issue for the postponement of the Bangladesh series”

Whilst many Pakistan fans may not be too pleased with what they consider as unethical behaviour by the BCB, Sarfraz Nawaz felt that this was a temporary setback and relations between both boards would not be effected in the long term.

“Personally, I don’t think this is as huge an issue as some would make it – I don’t think that there has been any significant damage to relations between the two boards. These things happen and the PCB as well as the BCB should learn lessons and move on”

This may not be the first crisis that the PCB has had to face in the recent past but, as in the past, their policies on such issues has always come under scrutiny – usually in an unfavourable manner. Sarfraz does not feel that PCB can be criticised in this instance and they seem to be doing well in terms of looking ahead at their own plans.

“I think they are doing well to plan ahead. We have news of the Pakistan Premier League all set for October of this year. In addition there is also talk of a mini series with Afghanistan and Zimbabwe so a lot is being planned” added Sarfraz.

It was widely expected that the visit by the Bangladesh team would be a precursor to a complete resumption of International cricket in Pakistan. The postponement of said tour could have adverse effects on any future revival of tours by foreign teams. However Sarfraz feels that the PCB needs to look beyond this setback and put some robust policies in place to attract international cricket back to Pakistan.

“I have always held this view that PCB needs a capable representative who can help project a positive view of Pakistan in front of the world. Previously we had Ijaz Butt who did untold damage to our reputation by boycotting ICC meetings and accusing England players of match fixing. We need a better strategy. In fact, I would recommend that we ask the foreign office to help in this matter as they have seasoned diplomats in their ranks. So, the Pakistani ambassadors to various nations can be utilized to present a better picture which can raise our profile in the ICC member countries. We also need to ensure that we are not humiliated in this way again”