Pak faces isolation, says Mani

Karachi, December 23:

Pakistan risks being the pariah of the cricket world unless they address security fears that have prompted foreign teams to cancel tours here, the former chief of the game’s governing body said today.

The comments from former International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani came after India announced they would not tour Pakistan next month amid tense relations between the neighbours in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. “What I fear is that Pakistan is being pushed to the brink of isolation and Pakistan will have to do something about it,” Mani said.

Pakistan have been a virtual no-go zone for foreign teams since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, which sparked major security fears for teams concerned about suicide and other attacks. The cancellation of India’s tour was the third major cricket event called off here this year, after Australia refused to tour in March and the ICC postponed the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy set for August until 2009.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) convinced Sri Lanka to replace India for a series, but current

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said on Monday a security team would visit Pakistan to ensure the safety of match officials. Mani, who served as ICC chief from 2003 to 2006, said Pakistan had become too reliant on India for cricket events, and should improve their ties with other top Test nations.

“It’s time that the PCB comes out with an effective strategy. It will have to consolidate relations with other Test-playing nations,” he said.