Butt to travel to India to ease security concerns
Desperate to host Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men next year, PCB chairman Ejaz Butt says he is willing to travel to India to ease the security concerns of the BCCI and the Indian government.cricket Updated: Nov 14, 2008 10:32 IST
Desperate to host Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men next year, PCB chairman Ejaz Butt says he is willing to travel to India to ease the security concerns of the BCCI and the Indian government.
Butt insisted that the PCB has no plans to shift the series to a neutral venue as of now and such an option would be considered only in "extreme circumstances".
"We are not even thinking about having the series anywhere else except Pakistan. Playing at some neutral venue is an extreme and last option," PCB chairman Ejaz Butt said from Abu Dhabi where Pakistan is playing a one-day series against West Indies.
"If need arises I will even travel to India to personally talk to the Indian board and government and convince them it is absolutely imperative for them to undertake the scheduled tour," he added.
India are scheduled to tour Pakistan in January and February to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a twenty20 game.
PCB CEO Saleem Altaf had on Thursday stated that neutral venue was an option in case of security fears but Butt said the PCB will use all diplomatic channels to convince the Indians to tour Pakistan.
"If we start playing our home series at neutral venues then cricket in Pakistan will not survive and die. So agreeing to relocation of our home series against India would be our last resort," he added.
Butt revealed that the board will get in touch with the Pakistan government and ask for help to make the tour possible. "There are security issues but remember India has been to Pakistan thrice in the last four years and played without any problems," Butt said.
"For us the Indian tour is very very important because if they don't come as scheduled then it means we risk losing the right to host the Sri Lankans, Australia and the Champions Trophy all slated for next year," he added.
The PCB chief admitted getting invites from England and UAE to host the series if Indian security concerns make it impossible to organise it here.
"Yes we have got offers from England and UAE to host the series and that is an option with us but only in extreme circumstances," he said.
"India has always been very supportive of Pakistan cricket and even in recent months when other countries didn'tt want the Champions Trophy to be held in Pakistan they were the ones who stood by us," Butt said.
He said the PCB, in conjunction with government agencies, will ensure state level security for the Indians.
"The tour is a matter of great importance for us it will have a big impact on the future of Pakistan cricket," he said.