Giles Clarke: ICC World XI to play in Pakistan
ECB chairman Giles Clarke has revealed plans for an ICC World XI to play in Pakistan, which has not hosted international cricket since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team and match officials in March 2009.
Writing in the September issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine, Clarke, who is also chairman of the ICC’s Pakistan Task Team, says: “World cricket must keep giving Pakistan cricket the chance to fund itself and move forward, to do something for the spectator in Pakistan. The security challenges are enormous but we cannot allow the terrorists to win. They must lose by an innings – repeatedly.
“So world cricket must go back and play in Pakistan. I do not think it will be possible for individual national teams to tour yet. But 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.”
Clarke’s impassioned support continues: “Cricket cannot abandon a nation with such a magnificent history in the game, such wonderful players and such enthusiastic and knowledgeable supporters. It will be an historic moment when international cricket resumes in Pakistan and the first ICC team walks out.”
He also reveals that the two neutral venue Tests between Pakistan and Australia in England this summer will not be a one-off gesture. “The ECB intends to assist in staging more Pakistan games here [in England] in 2011 and 2012. The atmosphere, the passionate support and, of course, the tremendous cricket played by the Pakistan team made it a compelling experience. The PCB’s economic needs make it imperative.”
According to Clarke, the immediate consequence of Pakistan’s inability to host international cricket has seen the Pakistan Cricket Board’s income fall from £27m to £10m, “a brutal impact that few enterprises could survive; terrorism does not care about its human consequences” he writes.
The September issue of The Wisden Cricketer, the world’s best-selling cricket monthly, is on sale at leading outlets from Friday 20 August.