ICC to assess Pak security for SL series

Mohali, December 22:

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will not appoint match officials for Sri Lanka’s proposed tour of Pakistan until a security assessment had been made, a top official said on Monday.

“We will do an independent assessment of the situation in Pakistan to ensure the safety of the umpires and match referee,” ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said. “I am convinced the Sri Lankan board will also do everything to ascertain whether it is safe to play in Pakistan and also seek assurances from the Pakistan Cricket Board. We will do our own assessment. After all, we will be supplying the officials.”

Sri Lanka agreed to step in after the Indian government denied its cricketers permission to play in Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in November. Sri Lanka are due to play three Tests and five one-day internationals in Pakistan in January and February, although the dates and venues have yet to be finalised.

The ICC postponed the Champions Trophy one-day tournament in Pakistan in September over

security concerns — the same reason given by Australia for not playing a Test series there last March. Lorgat said a decision on whether Pakistan will host the Champions Trophy next year will be taken at the ICC’s Executive Board meeting in January.

“We would like to see cricket on Pakistan soil,” he said. “But again that depends on the safety and security that prevails in the area. India’s tour of Pakistan could have provided us huge inputs for the Champions Trophy, but now that it has been cancelled, Sri Lanka’s tour might provide us that input.” Pakistan went through 2008 without a Test match as teams refused to tour the country, citing security fears.