Asia Life

Bangladesh Squad Returns to Pakistan for First Cricket Test Match Since 2003

Recent Features

Asia Life | Society | South Asia

Bangladesh Squad Returns to Pakistan for First Cricket Test Match Since 2003

It’s another step forward for Pakistani cricket, as security concerns previously prevented the country from hosting international matches.

Bangladesh Squad Returns to Pakistan for First Cricket Test Match Since 2003
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Mazhar Arshad

The Bangladesh cricket squad has returned to Pakistan for the second leg of the bilateral series, which includes its first test match in the country since 2003.

Bangladesh was originally scheduled to play three Twenty20 Internationals and two test matches, but agreed to split the tour into three phases because it did not want to stay in Pakistan for a longer duration because of security concerns.

Pakistan won the T20 series 2-0 last month at Lahore, with the third game abandoned because of rain.

Bangladesh lost 3-0 to Pakistan in its last test series here in 2003, which included the home team’s nail-biting one-wicket victory at Multan.

Leading Bangladesh player Mushfiqur Rahim, who didn’t travel to Pakistan for last month’s Twenty20 series, has also opted out of the test match at Rawalpindi.

A three-member security delegation from Bangladesh, led by retired Major Hussain Imam, met with security officials from the Pakistan government and the Pakistan Cricket Board at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

The first test, which is part of the World Test Championship, starts Friday. Bangladesh will depart next Wednesday and return to Pakistan in April for one one-day international and the second test match at Karachi.

Bangladesh is the second test country to tour Pakistan since the resumption of international cricket here.

In December, Sri Lanka toured Pakistan for 16 days and played test matches at Rawalpindi and Karachi.

That was the first test series in Pakistan in more than a decade after a 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team bus at Lahore left eight people killed and injured several players. The ten-year hiatus was a hardship for cricket-mad Pakistan, and the resumption of international test matches on home soil in 2019 was roundly cheered. For many Pakistanis, it was a point of pride, proof that their country was becoming safe again after regular terrorist attacks.

“This is fabulous for Pakistan cricket and its reputation of being as safe and secure as any other country in the world,” Zakir Khan, the director of international cricket at the Pakistan Cricket Board, said in a statement at the time.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, himself a former cricket star, personally welcomed the Sri Lankan team to Pakistan.

A tally put together by Pakistani think tanks found terror attacks dropped from nearly 2,000 in 2009 to fewer than 250 in 2019. The drop was particularly noticeable after 2014, when a horrific attack on a school in Peshawar killed 150 people, including 134 children. The attack shocked the nation and galvanized a concentrated anti-terrorism campaign by the government, including military operations to root out militant groups in tribal areas.

By The Associated Press, with additional reporting by The Diplomat.