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    PCB hoping for International cricket in Pak

    Karachi: Exactly two years after the terrorist attack on Sri Lankan players made Pakistan a no-go zone for foreign teams, PCB is hoping that international cricket would return to the country with the Lankans and Zimbabwe showing interest in coming for tours.

    "One thing is clear if international cricket is to return to Pakistan later this year it will be an Asian or African cricket board that will have to support us," an official of the cricket board said.

    He said Pakistan was optimistic about the return of international cricket due to the positive signals from some countries but admitted that the end of the day it would all depend on what the security situation is in the country at that time.

    "It is good to get signals from Sri Lankan officials about the possibility of them coming to Pakistan later this year to play their series of the future tours program," the official said.

    A top official of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Nishantha Ranatunga, recently hinted that his country could be the first one to help bring international cricket back to Pakistan despite the horrors of the deadly terrorist attack in Lahore nearly two years ago.

    Pakistan became a pariah in international cricket after the attack on the Sri Lankan team that occurred on March 3, 2009, in Lahore in which six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed while five visiting players were wounded.

    According to Ranatunga, the secretary of SLC's interim committee, Sri Lanka are likely to tour Pakistan later this year for a series of Tests and One-day Internationals and the officials are already in talks with the International Cricket Council's Pakistan Task Team (PTT) to look at the possibilities.

    "Sri Lanka Cricket will be pleased to honour our FTP (Future Tours Programme) commitment in Pakistan which is scheduled for October- November 2011, where they will play three Tests and five One-day Internationals," Ranatunga told Sri Lankan 'Sunday Times' newspaper. Ranatunga, the younger brother of Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup-winning captain Arjuna, however, conceded that there are major security concerns.

    "There are concerns over the tour taking place. Most of the players in the current team were in the middle of that unfortunate incident. We will have to make sure that the players and other officials are safe if the tour goes ahead," he said.

    "If the tour is to become a reality the ICC first should be fully satisfied that the conditions in Pakistan are conducive to stage international cricket," he said.

    The PCB official said the reason for their optimism also stemmed from the fact that the government was also keen to see the return of international cricket to the country.

    "We have got assurances from the government that they would provide foolproof security to any team agreeing to visit Pakistan."

    The PCB official stated that Zimbabwe cricket union was also ready to send its team to Pakistan for Tests and the two boards were looking at possibilities to create time for such a series in the cramped international calendar.

    "Zimbabwe would have toured Pakistan last year in December for a one-day series but due to the Muharram this could not materialize," the PCB official said.