Pakistan need to develop safe venues to play cricket: Rajeev Shukla

Karachi: A senior official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has advised the Pakistan Cricket Board to start developing a safe venue at home instead of continuing to play its “home” series in UAE.

Rajeev Shukla, who is also Chairman of the IPL, said that Pakistan needed to develop safe venues instead of agreeing to play in UAE.

“If Pakistan continues to play in UAE its cricket will slowly slowly suffer. Lahore can easily be made into a safe venue,” Shukla said on Geo News channel.

“If PCB makes Lahore a safe venue by constructing a team hotel near it and by providing adequate security than India will have no objection to playing in Lahore,” he said.

But Shukla than clarified that India would be willing to play in Lahore if Pakistan gave the International Cricket Council proper security assurances and other member boards also had no objections to play there.

“If Lahore is made a safe venue than everyone will come and play there.”

Shukla reminded about the MOU signed between the two boards last year admitted there was a MOU but noted it was signed when someone else headed the ICC and BCCI.

“Now our current President wants Pakistan and India to play against each other but in each other’s countries,” he added.

“We are saying this time come and play in India we are ready to compensate for the home series losses we will give bigger participation fees and when things improve in Pakistan we will go there and play one or two series. We have no issues,” he said.

Shukla to a question insisted there was nothing wrong in Pakistan playing in India in December as India would provide adequate security and also compensate the PCB well.

“I don’t think this is such a big issue … why make an ego issue of it and insist on playing in Dubai only,” he stated.

When pressed as to what problem India had with playing in UAE when it had held a leg of the IPL in Dubai this year, Shukla avoided giving a direct reply and maintained Pakistan should not make it such a big issue.

When reminded that other teams had no objections to playing in Dubai or at other venues in UAE, Shukla said the BCCI had its own policies.

“We have our own policy. We don’t care about what other countries do and what is their policy,” he said.

“We want resumption of cricket ties with Pakistan.”

Shukla also insisted that when the PCB delegation visited Mumbai the Shiv Sena activists had not bothered or touched them.

“They came to the Wankhede stadium and spoke to the BCCI President and they raised slogans but they didn’t bother the PCB officials.”

Shukla maintained that the PCB and Pakistan government should sit together and make Lahore a safe venue and invite teams to play there.

“If one incident happened does it mean there should no cricket in Pakistan,” he said referring to the militants attack on the Sri Lankan team in March 2009 after which top test teams have refused to tour Pakistan because of security concerns.

“I would say build on the success of the tour by Zimbabwe to Lahore,” he added.