When the Sri Lankan team toured Pakistan last year and played a series in all three formats, it led to elation in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ranks. But it soon turned into a bit of cockiness as some outrageous comments were made by Ehsan Mani, the PCB chief. He went to the extent of claiming that Pakistan is a safer venue than even India.
But any illusions that PCB may have had of all the safety concerns about their country having disappeared have been torn apart by former Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim. He decided to not tour Pakistan with his national team, joining members of team staff who also have opted out of the tour.
Speaking about his decision, Mushfiqur minced no words. "It was a tough decision for me to opt out of the series. But one needs to understand the fact that I even decided to not be part of PSL (Pakistan Super League) because that is to be played in Pakistan. My family is not permitting me. Life is never ahead of cricket," the wicketkeeper-batsman said.
He further elaborated on the influence of his family on his decision. "Like I have said before, my family is concerned with me travelling to Pakistan. Keeping them in a worry I do not have the mentality to go and play in Pakistan. There is no reason for the decision to change. I have already said I will not travel to Pakistan. I have written this to the board and this has been accepted. I will not be part of this full series."
In order to not sound too offensive to Pakistan and its cricket administration, Rahim tried to make the case that he likes touring the country and would, hopefully, go there in the future also.
"I would also like to say the situation in Pakistan has improved recently but I would like to give it another two or three years. I will gain confidence if I get to see many teams travelling there. I have toured Pakistan before, in 2008. It is a tremendous place to play cricket. The wickets are batting friendly and I will miss that. But in future if the situation there remains consistently well, there is no reason for me not to tour Pakistan."
As many as five members of the Bangladesh team's support staff have also opted not to be part of the touring group. This included New Zealand legend Daniel Vettori who is the spin bowling coach of the team alongside fielding coach Ryan Cook, limited-overs cricket batting consultant Neil McKenzie, trainer Mario Villavarayan, and computer analyst Shrinivaas Chandrasekaran.