Lahore: Pakistan's cricket chief said on Thursday he had offered to host qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup despite a four-year suspension of international cricket in the country over security fears. Pakistan has not staged any top-level cricket since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009, killing eight people and wounding seven visiting players.
Foreign teams have shunned tours to the troubled country over security fears, forcing the International Cricket Council (ICC) to shift Pakistan's share of matches for the World Cup in 2011. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf said he wanted the world to gauge the security situation in Pakistan.
"We have requested that the World Cup qualifiers 2018 should be given to us so that everyone can evaluate the security situation," Ashraf told reporters. The 2019 World Cup will be held in England.
Ashraf claimed the ICC had given a commitment to assess the security situation when the time comes and "will decide accordingly".
Ashraf's efforts to revive international cricket in Pakistan have been so far futile. Lowly ranked Bangladesh twice refused to tour over security fears last year, after initially agreeing for a short limited over series.
"Most of the countries are reluctant when they hear the name of Pakistan, especially after the Bangladesh ran away. They think when Bangladesh did not come how could they tour," said Ashraf.
Pakistan last year managed to host an International World XI comprising mostly of retired players from Sri Lanka, South Africa and the West Indies, but the short series failed to restore the confidence of international teams.