International cricket unlikely to return to Pakistan in near future: ICC

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Karachi, Apr.16 (ANI): Hinting that international cricket might not return to Pakistan any time soon, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to be patient while foreign teams gather confidence to visit the country once again.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said the apex cricket body is trying hard to ensure that Pakistan gets international exposure especially after the refusal of foreign teams to tour the country due the precarious security conditions.

" Pakistan should be patient in these testing times as there's a lack of confidence in foreign teams. The ICC is very keen to ensure Pakistan play at neutral venues rather than not competing at the international level, which I think will be detrimental for Pakistan cricket," Lorgat said while unveiling the 2010 T20 World Cup trophy here.

" It is an unfortunate reflection of circumstances that's been beyond the control of Pakistan cricket. We are trying our level best that they play," he added.

Lorgat stressed that the PCB should focus on domestic cricket like his home country South Africa, which developed a strong domestic team during apartheid.

"PCB has strategic plans to ensure that domestically the game thrives and it retains its place in the international cricket world by competing, and ensuring that they keep the national team as strong as they've ever been," The Dawn quoted Lorgat, as saying.

When asked that which team he favours to win the upcoming T20 World Championship in West Indies, Lorgat said it was difficult to pin point a team as all have world class players, but said India, Pakistan, Australia and South Africa might make it to the semi-finals.

" Those are my four teams and I guess any big performance beyond that which Shahid Afridi did in the semifinal and final last year can win the tournament," Lorgat said.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, who was also present during the function along Pakistan T20 skipper Shahid Afridi, expressed the hope that Lorgat's visit would help in reviving international cricket in Pakistan.

" Haroon's presence in Pakistan at a time when international cricket is not possible here is hugely reassuring and once again illustrates the commitment of the game's global governing body to do whatever it can to help ensure cricket remains healthy in Pakistan," Butt said. (ANI)

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