The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani is optimistic about South Africa cricket team visiting Pakistan, after his latest meeting with local officials.
While talking to Daily Express correspondent, Mani said that he is hopeful that Cricket South Africa will soon send their teams to Pakistan — senior, junior or women’s — after he held fruitful talks with his counterparts and also South African High Commission.
“I reiterated that Pakistan is safe country to come and play cricket and the security situation in the country is drastically improved,” said Mani. “We had talks about South Africa sending their senior, junior or women’s team to Pakistan in the near future.”
He added: “Cricket South Africa will review Internationals Cricket Council (ICC)’s report about security situation in Pakistan while also sending their own security experts to Pakistan for the same purpose.”
Earlier, Cricket Australia (CA) have reportedly softened its stance on a possible tour of Pakistan after being approached by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
According to Sydney Morning Herald, CA are in discussion with PCB for a one-day tour. “We are in ongoing discussions with the PCB about the one-day tour in March next year. We recognise the PCB and the Pakistan government are taking every step to improve the security for touring cricket teams and we’ll continue discussions with the PCB, with the safety and security of Australian players and support staff being our number one priority,” a CA spokesman said.
Pakistan’s plan would be to host the opening two matches against Aaron Finch’s side, with the remaining three in the UAE.
Sri Lanka returned to Pakistan in 2017 for a one-off T20, while West Indies played a three-match T20 series in Karachi in April this year while Australia have not toured Pakistan since 1998,
Speaking about the dressing room controversy during the first Test against South Africa in Centurion, Mani said that the story was greatly exaggerated.
Although he was concerned about how the media got their hands on the details of an internal team meeting as he believes that such things should not be discussed outside the dressing room.
He further stated that there was no rift between captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Head Coach Mickey Arthur, after holding separate meetings with both of them.
“The players were scolded but not in the manner reported by the media. Although I believe that details about such matters should stay inside the dressing room,” he said. “I had meeting with both Sarfraz and Arthur and I can assure you that the talk about any rift between the captain and coach is not true.”
While talking about the future of Sarfraz, Mani said that: “This is not the time for such a conversation and we should back the captain during the ongoing series.”
Sharing his thoughts on Pakistan’s first Test defeat against South Africa, Mani said that the second innings collapse — which saw Pakistan lost nine wickets for 89 runs — was the turning point of the match.
“Hashim Amla’s drop catch on the third morning of the Test and the wrong decision by TV umpire Joel Wilson — regarding Azhar Ali’s catch of Dean Elgar — had a major bearing on the outcome of the match,” he said. “Also the second innings batting collapse changed the course of the match.”
Mani also spoke about team’s fitness concerns by stating that: “Abbas was fit to play first Test but he was not risked because there was a danger of further aggravating his injury. All other players in the squad are fit to play.”