Altaf says only political stability can revive Pakistan cricket’s lost reputation

Altaf says only political stability can revive Pakistan cricket’s lost reputationKarachi, Mar. 18 : Pakistan Cricket Board COO Saleem Altaf has said only political stability in the country can help Pakistan retain its lost reputation in the cricketing world.

Pakistan has gone into international isolation following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore earlier this month, Altaf said.

“It is a problem that is not very simple. The rest of the world sees the situation in Pakistan as volatile and until that''s the case it''s very difficult for us to convince cricket teams that they should come here and play. Unless there is stability and political harmony, I''m afraid the perception about Pakistan is not going to change,” The News quoted Altaf, as saying.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt had recently said Pakistan would smash its unwanted tag of a cricketing pariah within the next six to nine months.

Altaf, who is less hopeful, believes that Pakistan will fail to host the only home series in the remaining part of the year - against New Zealand.

“Our home series against New Zealand in November-December this year is very doubtful. We will have to keep the option of playing it on a neutral venue open. Our only home series over the next year or so is against New Zealand,” he said.

However, Altaf hoped that things in Pakistan would normalize next year.

“Mr Morgan (ICC president) has rightly pointed out that Pakistan''s current situation is not a permanent one. Pakistan have gone through a similar phase when foreign teams refused to come here in the wake of a suicide attack that happened at the Sheraton (in Karachi), very near to where the New Zealand cricket team was staying. But later things became better,” said Altaf.

In past, two big international teams (New Zealand and Sri Lanka) have faced terror attacks, and expressed dissatisfaction over security arrangements in Pakistan.

Altaf made it clear that Pakistan will have to offer concrete security arrangements in the future.

“The return of cricket (to Pakistan) depends on whether we can assure complete security to visiting teams," he said. "We can only do that once things are in control and we can provide presidential level protection to the cricketers,” he said. (ANI)