The chairman of the PCB is set to meet the BCB President this week as Pakistan attempt to keep the scheduled tour of Bangladesh on track. A press release from the PCB stated that Ehsan Mani would meet with Nazmul Hassan on the sidelines of the ICC’s Governance Review Committee Meeting to try and get a clearer picture of the BCB’s position on the tour. It represents the first official reaction of the PCB to Bangladesh’s announcement yesterday, which effectively appeared to put paid to the prospect of a two-Test match series later this month, as was originally scheduled.
Little had changed following a Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) meeting on Sunday that was expected to produce a final decision on Bangladesh’s proposed tour of Pakistan. At a media briefing in Dhaka after the meeting, BCB chief Nazmul Hassan said the government had told the board it could go ahead with a tour of Pakistan, but to keep it “short” due to the Iran-US tensions.
This essentially means Bangladesh can play a T20I series but not Tests, which was the line that the BCB had taken in December. The BCB will now speak to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) about its decision.
“We are clear cut, but let’s see how they react,” Hassan said. “As far as security is concerned, T20 is a better option. They should be happy that we still want to go to play T20s. We just wanted rescheduling [of the Tests], not saying we won’t tour. This is the best thing we can offer to Pakistan.”
The BCB’s citation of rising tensions “in the Middle East” as a leading cause of it not embarking on a longer tour would appear to rule out hosting the Test series in the UAE – Pakistan’s home for the bulk of their home commitments over the past decade – as well. But the PCB is adamant the series be held within Pakistan, so that may be a moot point anyway. ESPNcricinfo understands any offer that does not include playing the Tests in Pakistan is unlikely to be acceptable to the PCB.
The proposed tour features three T20Is in Lahore, on January 23, 25 and 27, followed by two Tests, originally slated for Rawalpindi and Karachi. But then the BCB said it wanted to split the series, playing the T20Is in Pakistan and the Tests at a neutral venue.
It is learnt that last week, PCB offered to fly Bangladesh in and out after each Test – land in Karachi, go back to Dhaka, and then return to Rawalpindi directly for the second Test. Following the BCB’s announcement, it would seem this offer has been rejected.
Bangladeshi sides have toured Pakistan in the recent past, but the senior men’s team hasn’t done so since playing a five-match ODI series there in 2007-08. Seven years ago, they were close to deciding on a tour to Pakistan, only for the AHM Mustafa Kamal-led BCB to pull out shortly after the decision to tour was taken.