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Legendary pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar is unsure whether Pakistan gave the hosting rights of the Asia Cup to Bangladesh in order to get them to agree to tour the country.
Akhtar’s comments come after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) came to an agreement that will see Bangladesh play three Twenty20 Internationals, two Tests and a one-off ODI over three separate tours.
The 44-year-old believes that the “prospect” of Pakistan handing over the the Asia Cup hosting rights to Bangladesh is “unreasonable”.
“We must give credit to the PCB. It is because of their hard work that international cricket has returned to the country,” Akhtar said in a YouTube video as quoted by Cricket Pakistan. “I would like to urge people to not speak ill of Bangladesh. They are doing this because of many unseen pressures. I cannot publicly speak about those pressures. The BCB has to deal with political scenarios and pressure groups.
“However, the prospect of Pakistan giving up its hosting rights for the Asia Cup for the tour of Bangladesh seems very unreasonable to me.
“There [has] been a lot of speculation over Bangladesh’s tour of Pakistan. Many believe that Bangladesh was successful in getting what it wanted. Others claim that Bangladesh bartered the hosting rights for the Asia Cup in return for touring Pakistan. This barter deal would result in the Asia Cup being played in Bangladesh instead of Pakistan.”
Bangladesh will first visit Pakistan for a three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore from January 24 to 27 before returning to play one Test in Rawalpindi from February 7 to 11.
Following the conclusion of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Bangladesh will travel to Pakistan again and will play the one-off ODI in Karachi on April 3.
They will then play the second Test in Karachi from April 5 to 9.
However, Akhtar has questioned why the series has been split like this.
“Pakistan is a very safe country. The security protocols provided are great. Many cricketers have also testified in defense of Pakistan’s security,” he said. “A broken up tour makes little sense to me. It is still good that they are at least coming for the tour. This broken series however does not send the right message to the world.”