LAHORE - The PCB's Domestic Cricket Operations wing has moved two of its prestigious Grade-1 President's Trophy 2012-13 matches to other cities due to biased behaviour of Sialkot and Punjab administration, it has been learnt.

The matches, scheduled to be played in Jinnah Stadium Sialkot and Iqbal Stadium Faisalabad from November 26 to 29, have been shifted to Quaid-i-Azam Stadium, Mirpur, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and National Ground in Islamabad respectively. The first match will be played between PIA and Wapda and the second involves SNGPL and State Bank.

The issue between Punjab government and Pakistan Cricket Board started in Rawalpindi where Punjab administration demanded Rawalpindi Stadium to hold a ceremony for the distribution of laptops amongst students.  Pakistan Cricket Board told Punjab Govt that they can use stands, not field because Bangladesh cricket team tour is in final stages and they have laid fresh pitches and if they come then will not be able to prepare ground in time.

One of the Punjab minister claimed that he didn’t know that Bangladesh cricket team is coming to Pakistan as a case was registered in Bangladesh Court and they didn’t allow their team to visit Pakistan, a source in PCB revealed.

After that the Gulberg TMO demolished a boundary wall being built at the main gate of the Gaddafi Stadium in order to provide security to foreign teams.  PCB again built the wall and Punjab Govt demolished it again despite Lahore High Court’s order as honourable court allowed PCB to build the wall in their jurisdiction.

Earlier, a match of PCB U-19 tournament being played between Karachi and Sialkot was also disrupted in Gujranwala when a helicopter of provincial minister landed in the stadium during the match and consequently game has to be abandoned. Another match which was scheduled to be held on Wednesday last at Gujranwala, but district administration refused to give two teams access to the Gujranwala’s stadium a day earlier, the PCB sources claimed.

They said match between Peshawar and Sialkot was shifted to Jinnah Stadium Sialkot brought to a halt before it was started by the district administration without giving any reason, the sources added.

The Punjab government is also using its sports infrastructure as a weapon against the national sports federations by denying them holding national or international events, the source maintained.

The Palestine football team was to play two matches on the FIFA Day at the Punjab Stadium this year, but the Sports Board Punjab did not give any reply to the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) due to which Palestine team’s tour to Pakistan had to be cancelled, the source added.

Bangladesh team was due to tour Pakistan in March/April 2012 and after the refusal from administration for provision of foolproof security to the visitors the tour was cancelled. Later, Dhaka High Court deferred the tour due to security concern on a plea filed by a petitioners seeking decision on BD team’s Pakistan tour on security ground.

The tussle between Punjab administration and Pakistan Cricket Board is depriving cricket-crazy fan of Lahore to witness their heroes in action is an injustice to them as they want to see their players in action since no international team visited country citing security concerns and Pakistan hosted their matches in a neutral venue or United Arab Emirates.

The cricket circles of the city pleaded PML (N) President Nawaz Sharif, who also plays cricket and love the game, to come forward to settle issue between Punjab and Pakistan Cricket Board and direct Punjab government to provide maximum help for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan. He is invited to interfere in the matter to settle the issue amicably and provide a chance to cricket-crazy fans to watch their heroes and international players in action in Lahore as well as in country, they concluded.