West Indies reject proposal to tour Pakistan for T20Is
West Indies’ proposed tour to Pakistan for two T20Is in mid-March is off the table, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPNcricinfo. The WICB rejected the PCB’s proposal for the tour after receiving advice on security from the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations. The WICB has also cancelled an expected security recce, which was planned for later this month. The two boards, however, continue to discuss the possibility of two T20 internationals in Florida on March 19 and 20.
It is understood that earlier this week the West Indies Players Association wrote to FICA, seeking advice on the current security situation in Pakistan. FICA reportedly gave WIPA the latest security advisory from its security consultants, Eastern Star International, who provide security for various international boards including the ECB, Cricket Australia, New Zealand Cricket and the ICC.
In the report, FICA warned that the risk level in Pakistan remains “at an extremely elevated state” and that “an acceptable level of participant security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed”. Earlier this month, FICA’s report on player safety and security strongly discouraged players from traveling to Lahore for the Pakistan Super League final, scheduled for March 5.
According to the proposal, Lahore was likely to host the two matches on March 18 and 19, followed by two matches in Florida, which are still being discussed and are likely to go ahead.
On Wednesday, the WICB released the schedule of Pakistan’s seven-week tour of the Caribbean, beginning from March, which comprises two T20Is, three ODIs and three Tests across five venues. As per the ICC’s Future Tours Programme (FTP), four Tests had been originally slated for this series, but one Test was dropped from the itinerary to accommodate the proposed tour of Pakistan and the T20Is in the USA.
West Indies are the third team – after Ireland and Sri Lanka – to reject travelling to Pakistan in the last two years.
In 2015, Zimbabwe became the first the first Test-playing nation to tour Pakistan since 2009, when an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus resulted in the suspension of international cricket from Pakistan. The ICC, however, had refused to send its match officials for the series. The PCB appointed its own match officials, and hoped the Zimbabwe series would serve as a stepping stone to reviving international cricket in the country. That ambition, however, suffered a setback when a suicide attack took place near the Gaddafi Stadium during the second ODI. Zimbabwe, though, played the third and final ODI two days later and completed the tour.
The PCB remains firm in its plan to host the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore on March 5, and has drawn up contingency plans to replace those overseas players unwilling to travel to the country due to security reasons. The board has decided to hold a new draft in the last week of February to bring in foreign players who will be willing to travel to Pakistan in place of those who will opt out. (ESPNCricinfo)