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Cricket | International

Pakistan 'disappointed' over Bangladesh tour



Pakistan cricket authorities on Thursday voiced astonishment at what they called an "extremely disturbing" development after a court in Dhaka ordered Bangladesh to postpone their tour over security fears.

The Tigers were set to play a 50-over game and a Twenty20 international on April 29 and 30 in Lahore, the first international cricket matches in Pakistan for three years.

But the high court in Dhaka ordered the team to delay the visit by at least four weeks while Bangladesh cricket authorities explained why the tour should go ahead despite security worries.

International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since militants launched a deadly attack on the Sri Lankan team bus during the third test in Lahore in March 2009.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) released a strongly-worded statement voicing their fury at the postponement of the Bangladesh tour.

"It is astonishing to note that a matter lacking any legal issue has been dragged in the court by petitioners who appear to have vested interest and want to jeopardise Pakistan-Bangladesh cricketing relations," the statement said.

"It is extremely disturbing to note for the PCB and Pakistan cricket fans and world cricketing nations that such an adverse order has been passed to block a bilateral cricket series."

Pakistan had hoped the tour would encourage other foreign teams to visit and ultimately pave the way to a full resumption of home international series.

'STRANGE' POSTPONEMENT

Former Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan said he thought the postponement was strange.

"During this whole period I thought there was uncertainty but this postponement will definitely hurt Pakistan's sincere efforts to revive cricket in Pakistan," Khan told AFP.

PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed agreed the postponement would damage Pakistan's attempts to revive home internationals and leave a gap in the team's calendar.

"We do not have any alternate plans because teams are busy in international cricket," said Ahmed, who was still hoping Bangladesh can tour after the court case.

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf also deplored the postponement.

"It's shocking for us," Ashraf said in Islamabad. "This is unexpected because a lot of preparations have been made and courts usually don't come in cricketing matters."

Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal blamed the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

"(The) Bangladesh Board has made a joke of Pakistan cricket," said Iqbal. "(The) PCB should take them to the task because they are responsible."

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