Pakistan remain a long way from home

Despite glorious win over England, security worries mean a return from exile is fraught with problems


Pakistan are no closer to resuming international cricket in their own country. Their magnificent victory over England in the UAE seems to have fuelled speculation that this will be their last so-called home series on neutral territory and that they will no longer feel they are pariahs.

But Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, and head of the ICC's Pakistan task force, said there are unlikely to be cricket tours to Pakistan in the near future. Although Bangladesh have agreed in principle to visit in April, security assessments are still to be made and the ICC would have to be persuaded to send its officials. "It is a complex area, you're talking about men's lives," said Clarke, who is in Dubai for an executive board meeting. "These are sportsmen, not soldiers. It's all very well to say you can create an onion ring of security and that your team will be 100 per cent safe and you will have presidential security from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, but that will have to apply not only to players but to media, spectators and the people responsible for putting the match on. I may not have a legal duty of care, but I have a moral duty."

In the general jubilation that has accompanied Pakistan's superb performances against the world's No 1 side a return to normal business has been promoted. Last week, Zaka Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said: "This England series could be our last series to be held at an offshore venue. We are keen to host international teams just like other member boards are doing. We are already engaged with the Bangladesh board and I am sure their tour to Pakistan in April will break the ice."

Clarke conceded that if the Bangladesh tour went ahead it could mean progress had been made. He did not, however, envisage any prospect of it. "It's very clear the players don't want to go," he said. "Unfortunately, it has never come over as the best tour and the elephant in the room is the deeply shocking incident at Lahore when the Sri Lankan team coach was attacked and men died. That changed things."

Clarke, who has constantly sought to befriend Pakistan, had outlined a plan to send an all-star, independent team there. But it would have to be of high quality and the problem of attracting players would be insurmountable. Advice from the Foreign Office remains unequivocal: "We advise against all travel to specific regions of Pakistan and against all but essential travel to other specific regions of Pakistan."

If the evidence of the last two days of the match in Abu Dhabi is a yardstick, Pakistan are gradually building a support base in the UAE, which has, perforce, become their second home. It clearly helped that authorities there made admission free ,since most of the Pakistani expatriates are in service industries with little disposable income.

With the team leading 2-0 and the third Test starting in Dubai on Friday, the traditional day off in the UAE, there are hopes of a large crowd. It is perhaps typical of Pakistan's turbulent cricket that there is still some uncertainty surrounding the team even now.

The PCB has been interviewing candidates for the coach's job, which has been filled since November by the chairman of selectors, Mohsin Khan. Dav Whatmore, the former Sri Lanka and Bangladesh coach, is favourite and, although a movement in favour of Mohsin has grown, that was criticised yesterday.

Geoff Lawson, who was Pakistan's coach in 2007 and 2008 said: "The performance of the team recently is down to Misbah-ul-Haq. Mohsin Khan will be doing nothing. I am quite aware of what his capabilities are, from the time I was coach of the Pakistan team.

"He was in charge of the National Academy in Karachi and not very 'cluey' in his job. This is down to Misbah and his senior players and his organisation. I still think if Pakistan wants to go ahead, they still need a quality coach."

Perhaps so, but they seem to be doing all right so far against a team whose coach and captain famously complement each other. Misbah seems perfectly relaxed about the idea, but the relationship is crucial in any team.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power