Pakistan's tour of Bangladesh, due to start next week, has been postponed on the advice of the Bangladesh government. Officials are hopeful that the tour will be held soon and are working on a revised security plan in consultation with the ICC.
The postponement comes two days after Pakistan's home series against Sri Lanka was abandoned, following an attack on the visiting team bus that left eight dead and several cricketers and officials injured.
Bangladesh Cricket Board officials think the tour could take place as early as end-March. "We had been making all necessary preparations for the tour when we were advised by the home ministry to postpone it for the time being," Jalal Yunus, chairman of the board's media and communications committee, said. "We are now working with the PCB and our government agencies to chalk out a new schedule."
Yunus said the ICC had asked the Bangladesh board to make some changes in the security plan for the series. The board is currently working on this.
It is not clear if the decision to postpone the tour is connected to the Lahore attack or to the recent violence in Bangladesh. A mutiny last month by Bangladesh Rifles border guards over pay and the command structure resulted in widespread violence that killed at least 80 people, including more than 50 officers.
Saleem Altaf, a Pakistan board official, said the reason behind the decision was not yet known. "Bangladesh have conveyed their decision to us without giving any reason," he told AFP. "We are told they are revising the tour itinerary and the series will be held after some delay."
Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, told reporters he expected a revised itinerary from the Bangladesh board soon. "Every country discusses the security situation with its government. We did ask for clearance for the tour from our government. The International Cricket Council (ICC) have asked them to implement a plan so they needed time.
"Bangladesh will come back to us and we (will) hopefully get a revised itinerary later Thursday."
Pakistan were scheduled to play two Twenty20s and five ODIs between March 10 and March 22. Pakistan and Bangladesh are co-hosts, along with India and Sri Lanka, of the 2011 World Cup.