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Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Tuesday, 17 August 2010 16:06 UK

ICC plan World XI tour of Pakistan by end of 2011

The Pakistan squad touring England
The Pakistan squad are currently touring England for a Test and one-day series

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is hoping to send an invitational World XI to play fixtures in Pakistan by the end of 2011.

Cricket tours of Pakistan were halted after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009.

"World cricket must go back and play in Pakistan," Giles Clarke, the head of the ICC's Pakistan Task Team, told the Wisden Cricketer magazine.

"The security challenges are huge but we cannot allow the terrorists to win."

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Clarke claimed it was still to early to send a national side to Pakistan, but an invitational team could travel as they would partake in a shorter tour, taking in fewer venues.

"With determination and courage, an ICC World XI in due course will go and play against Pakistan in her great cities and there will be a marvellous atmosphere," he said.

We would want to help. We are part of the international cricket community and we owe it to support each other in difficult times

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt welcomed the prospect of a possible World XI tour of the country.

"I am very grateful to Giles Clarke, who is a dear friend of Pakistan, for pursuing our case and working tirelessly in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan," said Butt.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat spoke positively about the potential tour but added that a lot of work was still to be done to make it happen.

"These are early days and we will start seriously thinking about this in the next 12 months," Lorgat told BBC World Service.

"It is about being responsible. If a country has got specific concerns we would have to take that into account.

"I think if we reach that junction it will be the collective will of all concerned to make it work. I don't see specific countries having a different rationale to try and allay the fears of individual players. We are all part of the ICC and we all support cricket returning to Pakistan."

Lorgat also confirmed that a World XI tour - and also other future matches - may also be used to help raise funds for the approximately 20m people affected by the recent floods in the north west of the country.

"That is something that could add weight to people's desire for this," he confirmed. "We would want to help. We are part of the international cricket community and we owe it to support each other in difficult times.

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"This morning I spoke with the chairman of the PCB and we are exploring several options to raise funds and show support for those people who find themselves in a parlour state of affairs currently.

"It is possible before the end of this year when South Africa travel to Dubai to play Pakistan that one of those matches will be raising funds for the flood victims."

No side has toured Pakistan since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked and seven people killed in Lahore.

The ICC also removed Pakistan as one of the four planned hosts for the 2011 World Cup, which will be staged in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka from February.

In the interim, Pakistan have played their "home" matches at venues in the United Arab Emirates and in England, where they are currently touring.

Clarke revealed that the Pakistan Cricket Board's income had dropped by two-thirds since the attack, describing it as "a brutal impact few enterprises could survive".

"Cricket cannot abandon a nation with such a magnificent history in the game, such wonderful players and such enthusiastic and knowledgeable supporters," added Clarke.

"It will be an historic moment when international cricket resumes in Pakistan and the first ICC team walks out."



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see also
Strauss support for Cook & Swann
17 Aug 10 |  England
England complete comfortable win
09 Aug 10 |  England
Lahore attack 'to change cricket'
25 Mar 09 |  South Asia
England host Pakistan v Australia
04 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Media review: Pakistan cricket damaged
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Pakistan faces loss of cricket tours
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Gunmen shoot Sri Lanka cricketers
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Pakistan in England 2010
07 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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