Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Malik fears Pakistan will become 'isolated'

Pakistan haven't played Test cricket since the series in India in November-December 2007.

Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, fears that Pakistan will become an "isolated cricket nation" and wants the ICC to ensure that teams tour the country.

Pakistan were deprived of international cricket in 2008 after Australia postponed their tour, scheduled for March, because of security concerns. The Champions Trophy, which was supposed to begin on September 12, was also postponed after five countries said that they wouldn't participate in the tournament due to security fears.

Pakistan's last Test was in India in December 2007 and their next Test series is in January 2009 when they host India. They haven't played a Test in 2008 and Malik wanted the ICC to play a larger role in ensuring that teams visited Pakistan.

"The ICC needs to step in and play a more decisive role," Malik told Reuters. "If teams keep on refusing to tour Pakistan despite assurances even from our government we will become an isolated cricket nation.

"It is very frustrating for the players the way two important events have been postponed this year. It is so depressing that despite being a major cricket-playing nation we do not play a Test match this year."

Pakistan sought to fill the gap created by the Champions Trophy but faced hurdles in setting up one-day tournaments. India were concentrating on their preparation for the upcoming series against Australia, South Africa rejected a tri-series proposal because their players were fatigued after the tour of England, while a proposed one-day series against Sri Lanka faced problems finding sponsors.

Pakistan's next international assignment is a four-nation Twenty20 tournament involving Canada, West Indies, and Sri Lanka in Toronto from October 10.