sport

Lorgat gives hope to Pakistan

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat wants international cricket to return to Pakistan as soon as security can be guaranteed.

Pakistan has not hosted international cricket since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team in Lahore in 2009, since when Pakistan have played home matches in the United Arab Emirates.

The prospect of Bangladesh playing matches there now looks likely, and Lorgat is hopeful that can be extended to the rest of the world once security guarantees are put in place.

England have not played in Pakistan since 2005 but the issue on international cricket returning was discussed by the ICC's chief executives committee meeting in Dubai on Wednesday.

Lorgat, speaking from the Global Sports Forum in Barcelona, said : "It is a matter which is being discussed at the moment and we are all of the same opinion that international cricket must be played in Pakistan, the only question remains around safety and security.

"No-one is averse to returning to a safe and secure Pakistan."

The Bangladesh tour is likely to go ahead if the ICC allow local umpires to officiate at the match rather than bringing in neutral officials.

"If it is a bilateral series then it is up to those two countries to decide whether it is safe and secure," added Lorgat, a South African who is stepping down from his position in June after four years.

His tenure has seen international cricket endure a number of crises, from the terrorist attack on Sri Lanka to the spot-fixing scandal in England that saw three Pakistan players jailed last year.

Lorgat added: "It has been a rollercoaster ride, with some very, very challenging issues but I do feel it has been a privilege to have been involved in shaping the game and influencing the future of the game."

Lorgat has always been a staunch defender of 50-over one-day games, and he insists any threat to the future of that format has now dissipated.

He said: "There is now very, very high interest in Test match cricket and I now feel that 50-over cricket is here to stay after the success of the World Cup.

"There is no need to talk about the value of Twenty20 either - cricket is privileged to have to these three formats all of which can be successful."

David Collier, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has been suggested as a potential successor for Lorgat, who says he is sure that Collier will be among the leading candidates.

Lorgat said: "I am not aware who is on the shortlist - but I am sure he will be one of those on it."