ICC boss hopes World XI series is a 'stepping stone' for cricket in Pakistan

ICC chief executive David Richardson, pictured middle, was speaking in Lahore on Wednesday
ICC chief executive David Richardson, pictured middle, was speaking in Lahore on Wednesday
13 September 2017 7:30PM

International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson has described the World XI Twenty20 series in Pakistan as a "stepping stone" towards rebuilding the confidence of Test-playing nations for bilateral tours.

Richardson joined Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi at a press conference before the second of three matches between the hosts and a star-studded World XI at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium.

He spelled out that the ongoing event, the first visit to Pakistan for any of the vast majority of the world's best cricketers since the deadly terror attack on Sri Lanka's team bus during a Test in Lahore eight years ago, is a starting point for future progress.

"It's a long process," said Richardson, quoted in a Cricinfo report.

"This is a stepping stone in the right direction. A Test series is, by its nature, much longer than three T20s.

"I think the next step is to grow capabilities, improve capabilities to areas and cities outside of Lahore itself to build the confidence of teams like Australia and England, and all other teams, that it's safe to tour Pakistan on a more regular basis and for much lengthier periods of time."

The world governing body has committed to help the PCB provide effective security for all visiting teams over the next three years, with both Sri Lanka and West Indies already due to travel to Pakistan this winter.

Richardson added: "The ICC has already agreed to invest in security and developing security capabilities for a three-year period.

"Whether years two and three include a World XI tour is not decided, maybe not. Certainly, I think the intention would be to bring more and more PSL (Pakistan Super League) matches to Pakistan, but also to bring (full) member countries to tour Pakistan - not a World XI tour.

"That would be the ideal to have international cricket return to Pakistan in normal circumstances."

The final of the second edition of the PSL Twenty20 league was held in Lahore six months ago, after group matches took place in the United Arab Emirates, and the ongoing World XI tour has so far passed without any security incidents.