DHAKA: BCB had a meeting on Sunday that was expected to throw up 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 can go ahead with a tour of Pakistan but keep it “short” due to the Iran-US tensions. This essentially means Bangladesh can play a T20I series but not Tests, which was the same line that the BCB had taken in December.
The BCB will now speak to the 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. The PCB is yet to react to this latest development – when asked, the board said that it had not received any official communication from the BCB. Any offer that does not include playing the Test-leg of the series in Pakistan is unlikely to be acceptable to the PCB.
As such, Sunday’s statement from the BCB may fall well short of any common ground the two boards will be hoping to establish. 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. 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.