Law voices tour concerns
Outgoing coach Stuart Law has voiced his concerns over the Bangladesh Cricket Board's decision to tour Pakistan later this month.
The BCB and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have been given preliminary approval by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a one-day international and a twenty20 international to be played in Lahore on April 29 and 30 respectively.
If it goes ahead, Bangladesh will become the first international side to tour Pakistan since a terrorist attack on a Sri Lanka team bus in March 2009 that left six police officers and a driver dead and several players and officials injured.
Law, who announced on Monday that he would step down as Bangladesh coach when his contract expires in June, was unsure of the benefits of playing just two matches for the sake of getting international cricket back to Pakistan.
He was quoted in Bangladeshi newspaper New Age as saying: "I understand that they want to get cricket back in Pakistan [but] you want to go and play a meaningful series between two teams with full strength.
"If that's not the case then what are we going to gain from going there?
"I understand the Pakistan public and the need to get cricket back in their country. They love cricket and so do we. But everything has got be properly in place. It's got to be made sure by the two associating boards that everyone is a hundred percent safe to go."
The ICC has, in fact, laid down the condition of having its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) conduct a localised risk assessment prior to the tour to "determine whether officials and staff are appropriately protected by the proposed security plan". Only then will a final approval be given for the series.
In addition, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat announced yesterday that the world governing body will reconsider sending neutral umpires for the series, having initially rejected the idea when the tour was being conceived.
The ICC's verdict on both issues could go far to quell the fears of some players, some of who Law believes are currently not in favour of travelling to Pakistan.
He added: "I cannot speak on behalf of the players. But I have spent time with them and everyone is a bit concerned.
"Not just Bangladesh, but the other teams as well. The first initial response from the players around the world is 'I don't want to go'."
The BCB, meanwhile, insists its players can opt out of the tour if they have any misgivings over security.
Chairman of the BCB's cricket operation committee Enayet Hossain Siraj said: "Of course they will have the freedom to choose. It's an independent country.
"They are our contracted players and some are out of the contract, but I don't think the BCB will take any such decision to tour somewhere where a player does not want to go."