AFP: Pakistan faces isolation, ex-ICC chief warns
Pakistan faces isolation, ex-ICC chief warns
1 hour ago
KARACHI (AFP) — Pakistan risks being the pariah of the cricket world unless it addresses security fears that have prompted foreign teams to cancel tours here, the former chief of the game's governing body said Tuesday.
The comments from former International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani came after India announced it would not tour Pakistan next month amid tense relations between the neighbours in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
"What I fear is that Pakistan is being pushed to the brink of isolation and Pakistan will have to do something about it," Mani told local media.
Pakistan has been a virtual no-go zone for foreign teams since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, which sparked major security fears for teams concerned about suicide and other attacks.
The cancellation of India's tour was the third major cricket event called off here this year, after Australia refused to tour in March and the ICC postponed the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy set for August until 2009.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) convinced Sri Lanka to replace India for a series, but current ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said Monday a security team would visit Pakistan to ensure the safety of match officials.
Mani, who served as ICC chief from 2003 to 2006, said Pakistan had become too reliant on India for cricket events, and should improve its ties with other top Test nations.
"It's time that the PCB comes out with an effective strategy. It will have to consolidate relations with other Test-playing nations," he said.
"The PCB, in spite of my repeated warnings, started relying heavily on India in the last three years. And look what India did to Pakistan? They just let us down," said Mani.
"We have been doing everything to please them," he added, referring to the PCB's decision to ban about 20 players who competed in the Indian Cricket League, which is not recognised by the Indian cricket board or the ICC.