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Bangladesh move 'a setback,' says Younus

Pakistan captain Younus Khan expressed disappointment Wednesday after Bangladesh postponed Pakistan's tour over security fears, saying Dhaka has deprived his team of valuable cricket.

"I am greatly disappointed," Younus said of the Bangladesh government decision to delay the five one-day and two Twenty20 matches tour.

"The decision has deprived us of some valuable cricket once again," he said.

Pakistan had been due to tour Bangladesh this month but the dates were put on hold after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore on March 3, killing eight policemen, and wounding seven players and an assistant coach.

The attacks ended Pakistan's chances of hosting international matches in the near future and the Bangladesh postponement further jolted cricket in a country obsessed with the sports.

"It is a great setback especially when we needed practice for the Australia series," said Younus, adding that the tour would have been a chance to try out some youngsters.

"We had some newcomers in the team for Bangladesh who we wanted to try out before our series against Australia next month, but now the tour is off we have lost that opportunity and it's demoralising for a captain," said Younus.

Pakistan's next assignment is a five one-day and one Twenty20 match series to be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from April 22 to May 7.

Younus said team performance would be affected by successive postponements.

"Our team is unfortunately very short on cricket and if mishaps like this happen, our performance will decline in important series," said Younus.

Pakistan were left without a Test last year after Australia postponed a full Test and one-day tour to the troubled country over security fears.

Efforts by the Pakistan Cricket Board to arrange interim series bore little fruit, as the West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand refused to send their teams, citing security fears.

India also refused permission for its team to tour Pakistan after relations between the arch-rivals worsened in the wake of last November's attacks on Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Last month a proposed tri-series in Dubai was also cancelled after Sri Lanka said it was unavailable. Bangladesh was the third team in the tri-series, to be played in late April.

"We have suffered a lot from tour cancellations, mainly the India and Australia series, so we badly need cricket. I hope we get some good cricket later in the year," said Younus, who took over as captain from Shoaib Malik last month.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt said his board would negotiate new dates with Bangladesh.

"The series has been postponed, not cancelled," Butt said. "We will definitely find a new slot for the series and hopefully it will be held later in the year."

Butt said terrorism has hit world cricket in general and Pakistan in particular.

"Terrorism has been Pakistan's problem and once we control that, international cricket will be revived in our country. Overall, cricket is also hurt by fears of terrorism."

Copyright 2009 AFP South Asian Edition
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP South Asian Edition
Date:Mar 18, 2009
Words:497
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