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Decision on Tests to be taken after T20s, says BCB on Pak tour

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DHAKA              –          Despite the tough stance adopted by the PCB on Bangladesh’s unwillingness to play Test cricket in Pakistan, the BCB has reiterated that as things stood, it could only give the go-ahead to a T20I series in the country. In what could be seen as a slight softening of its position on the Tests, though, chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said that Bangladesh would decide on the longer series after the T20I tour.

Speaking to a few reporters in Dhaka on Tuesday, Chowdhury said that while the BCB understood the sentiments of the PCB, it needed to take into account the views of the Bangladeshi players and the team management.

“Pakistan will definitely try for the full return of international cricket to their country. We have to take into account the views of our players and members of our team management, who are foreigners,” Chowdhury said. “The match environment is also important to us. Relevant stakeholders’ view is also important, regarding a longer tour to Pakistan. “Our primary proposal is to play three T20Is in a shorter period so that players and team management can do a proper assessment of the situation there.”

Recently, Sri Lanka became the first team to play Test cricket in Pakistan since 2009. That tour was always going to be in two parts, with the Tests first and then the white-ball matches. But the PCB swapped the formats around, with many major Sri Lanka players expressing their apprehension about touring, and the limited-overs matches were played first, in October. Once that tour was conducted without incident, Sri Lanka agreed to tour in December for a two-Test series with their first-choice players. As such, since the T20Is are scheduled for January 23, 25 and 27, the PCB has a very small window to host the Bangladesh Tests, with the PSL scheduled to begin in the third week of February.

On Monday, at the end of Pakistan’s Test series against Sri Lanka, Ehsan Mani, the PCB chairman, had adopted a particularly defiant tone, saying there was “absolutely no doubt” Pakistan would play all home series within the country going forward. “No one should be under any misapprehension as to where Pakistan’s home Tests will take place,” Mani said at a press interaction. “All of Pakistan’s matches, against Bangladesh or anyone else, will take place in Pakistan. I still hope the BCB will reflect on the matter and accept there is no reason for them not to visit Pakistan. If Sri Lanka can come – and bringing them was very high-risk – then it is safe. If anything even minor had happened, people would have said it isn’t safe to come. But they trusted the people here and came and they [the ones that opted out] said they wished they had come for the limited-overs series as well, because what they’ve been told and the ground realities are very different.”

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