The Pakistan Cricket Board PCB is angry these days. And why would they not be given their chances of getting all the top overseas players to participate in the Pakistan Super League have taken a huge hit after a report from FICA questioned the security in the country.
Let’s rewind things back a little. What happened was that the PCB announced recently that they will be hosting the PSL final in Lahore. They could obviously not force every overseas player to make a trip to the country given there still are concerns about security – we have seen how Eoin Morgan went against security advice to decide not to tour Bangladesh with the England team – but they had a good chance to rope in a few more than they would have had the final been played in Lahore last PSL season.
In the background, efforts were also being made to get West Indies to tour Pakistan for a short series after Zimbabwe had taken a trip in 2015. There was obvious reluctance from the West Indian board as well but the good news was that things were moving in the right direction.
Suddenly then, FICA came out with a statement in which they spoke about “risk level in Pakistan remains ‘at an extremely elevated state’ and that ‘an acceptable level of participant security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed’.”
The FICA report also states the following:
“Pakistan continues to experience significant terrorist attacks across the country and Westerners have in the past been directly targeted and killed in Pakistan. Indiscriminate and targeted attacks are likely to continue, and expert advice is consistent with all Government Agencies and Diplomatic Missions, who generally advise to reconsider the need to travel.”
So who or what exactly is FICA?
FICA is the international players’ body, or as the acronym stands for, “Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations” which is recognised by some of the cricket boards in the world. Their word isn’t gospel truth, in that the players from even the boards which recognise FICA aren’t bound to follow their advice, it will definitely play a part in the decision-making process of the players.
What the FICA have also said is the players might need to re-look into their own insurance policies and whether they would remain valid in Pakistan. All of this will cause overseas players to rethink.
So what does the PCB think about FICA’s statement? They aren’t too happy to say the very least.
They have slammed the report claiming it to be false and without taking in account the actual situation at the ground level. They have also said it does a great disservice to Pakistan cricket.
What now needs to be seen is if the players will heed to FICA’s advice or decide to go ahead with the tour.