LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shahryar Khan on Tuesday confirmed that a deal was struck with Zimbabwe but rubbished claims that the African side was ‘bribed’ into touring Pakistan.
Zimbabwe became the first Full Member team to tour Pakistan after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan squad in 2009, but there were widespread rumours that the African players were payed $12,500 each to be convinced to make the visit. The news first emerged when the team ignored the advice of the Zimbabwe government’s Sports and Recreation Committee (SRC) against touring violence-hit Pakistan.
The individual payments, according to sports website, were part of the US$500,000 the PCB is understood to have paid the Zimbabwe board before the tour and though the PCB remained mum on the issue hitherto, Khan admitted that a deal was in fact struck.
“It was just a one-off deal. It does not mean that we will be paying every team which tours Pakistan,” Khan said in an interview.
“The Zimbabwe series was an exception. We are very thankful to Zimbabwe for visiting Pakistan.
“Now we will visit them in August which will be our return tour. The next series will be on bilateral terms. The team we will host will host us in return. It is as simple as that.”
The PCB chairman said it was time to look at the positives from the series and build upon the confidence that the Zimbabwe visit must have given to the international cricketing fraternity.
All the matches were played in front of a full house crowd. The sale of tickets was 100 per cent and we generated good revenue as well.
“The Zimbabwe players told us they had not received such a rousing welcome anywhere before.”
“The series was played in good environment and has shrugged off security fears.
“The series will also help us in staging Pakistan Super League in future.”
Khan confirmed his board was now in talks with Sri Lanka over a possible tour and it seemed ‘very likely’ judging by the statements of Sri Lanka cricket chief Sidath Wettimuny, who was invited by the PCB as a special guest during the Zimbabwe series.
“He was quite impressed to see the security arrangements, crowd and enthusiasm We are hopeful that Sri Lanka will tour Pakistan but there isn’t any definite decision yet.”