Bangladesh wait on Pakistan clearance - official

Bangladesh will wait for security clearance from the International Cricket Council (ICC) before confirming they will tour Pakistan next month for a two-match series, their top official said Saturday.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf had said that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had announced their intention to tour, making them the first team to visit the country since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan squad in 2009.

"We were in constant touch with the BCB officials and they have conveyed to us that the tour is confirmed," Ashraf told AFP.

"They have also got approval from their board members and we are in touch for the schedule."

However, Nazmul Hassan, the BCB president, said later Saturday that the decision is still "two to four days" away as they await a security assessment by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"In my opinion, we can reach a final decision in the next two to four days," Hassan told the BBC Bangla Service.

"We will ask the ICC to complete their security assessment for match officials and the moment they finalise their stance, we can give our confirmation.

"It will somewhat depend on the ICC's decision. We need to know their security assessment. Our security team that had gone to Pakistan said the security is adequate."

Foreign teams have shunned playing in Pakistan since gunmen opened fire on a convoy in Lahore, killing eight people and leaving seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach injured.

The attack pushed Pakistan into a cricket exile as the national team was forced to play their home series at neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and England.

Ashraf said the best security arrangements will be put in place for the Bangladesh team.

"We will soon co-ordinate with the provincial governments and put in place the best arrangements for the tour and I am pretty confident that the tour will take place in the best possible manner and pave (the) way for more teams to come," said Ashraf.

Bangladesh earlier this week said they will play a Twenty20 and a one-dayer on January 12 and 13 respectively, both in Lahore.

The team had agreed to tour Pakistan in April this year but the event was blocked by Dhaka high court.


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