Zaheer slams ICC for not sending umpires

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Zaheer slams ICC for not sending umpires

Former Pakistan great happy as Zimbabwe begins tour

By Liaqat Ali

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Published: Tue 19 May 2015, 1:34 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:44 PM

Dubai — Former Pakistan great Zaheer Abbas has criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC) for not sending match officials to Pakistan for the tour of Zimbabwe even as the series is set to go ahead.

It is a sigh of relief for the Pakistan Cricket Board as international cricket is making a return to Pakistan after a long wait of six years. Zaheer says Pakistan should be proud of its efforts to convince an international team to visit the country. He hopes the tour will go as planned and will pave the way for other teams to visit the country in future.

The ICC has decided not to appoint its match officials for the series after receiving a report from its security consultant.

It had already made provision for the PCB to use its own umpires and match referees in such a case. “It is very disappointing on the part of the ICC by refusing to send officials to supervise the series in Lahore. Being the custodian of the game, the body needs to be proactive to revive cricket in Pakistan. There are elaborate security arrangements and there should be no issue for the officials and players. It is a very negative signal from the ICC but I hope this tour will be completed without any incident which will force the ICC to rethink on its policy in future,” Zaheer said while talking to Khaleej Times.

The visit makes Zimbabwe the first Test-playing nation to tour Pakistan since 2009, when an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus resulted in the suspension of international cricket from Pakistan. Afghanistan and Kenya have both toured Pakistan during that period, without any incident.

“It is great news for Pakistan cricket that the Zimbabwe team is visiting the country. Pakistan has been the victim of terrorism for long and we have been trying our best to address the issue. I hope this tour will set a precedent and other teams will follow suit.

“The government has made stringent security arrangements and with the help of God the tour will be completed without any incident and cricket lovers will be able to watch their heroes playing in front of their eyes,” Zaheer said.
Lack of international cricket has hurt Pakistan and it is obvious from the team’s performance. There is a dearth of new talent and the team is sitting on ninth position in the ODI ranking.

“There is no doubt that the absence of international cricket has hit Pakistan hard but the PCB policies are also to be blamed for the dismal performance of the team. They keep on playing senior players and are afraid to give chance to youngsters. They have to take decisions to infuse young blood and be patient to get some results. There are rumours that Shoaib Malik might be recalled for Twenty20 matches against Zimbabwe and if it happens it will be grave mistake on the part of the PCB. Enough is enough and youth must be given chance,” the former Pakistan Test captain said.

While answering a question about Mohammed Amir’s comeback, Zaheer said: “He has committed a serious crime against the PCB and his return will raise many questions. Though he has been punished for what he has done but we still need to keep an eye on him. He is an asset for Pakistan and still very young.

“We have to wait and see how he performs when he is back on international stage.” 

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