ICC backs cricket-starved Pakistan

CRICKET'S governing body will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to bring back cricket, but much depends on the security situation, an official said on Saturday.

International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, leaving eight people dead and seven players wounded.

It led foreign teams to shun tours to Pakistan due to security fears.

David Richardson, chief executive of the International Cricket Council, said Pakistan will continue to be supported. ''The ICC views Pakistan as a very important part of international cricket,'' Richardson said.

''It's our role to support Pakistan in its efforts to make sure that international cricket returns.''

But Richardson, a former South African wicketkeeper and batsman, said it was tough to give any time-frame for the return of the game.


''We want to support the return, whenever that may be … but it's difficult to say exactly when.''

He added that any decision by a team to play would depend on ''a serious assessment of the risk''.

''ICC is not in a position to do [security assessment] when it comes to teams touring and countries make their own decisions,'' he said.

''It will be up to Pakistan in convincing that it is safe to come to the country, and tourists will make up their own minds in this regard.''

Richardson hailed Pakistan's decision to stage a multinational Twenty20 league in March, a move announced by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday, with 30 foreign players likely to participate.