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Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, will become the first high-ranking official from the body to visit Pakistan since the terror attacks of March 2009, when he arrives in Karachi on Thursday. Officially the trip is part of the launch and countdown to the World Twenty20, due to kick off in the Caribbean from April 30. Pakistan is the defending champion and trophy-holder as well as the leading nation in the format, having been runners-up in the inaugural edition in 2007.

But the visit is attracting interest because it comes after a year in which Pakistan's position on the cricket map has gradually been edged out; the World Cup 2011 has been taken away after the attacks on the Sri Lankan team, Pakistan's players have been snubbed by the IPL, relations with the ICC have cooled after the legal dispute that followed the World Cup decision and ties with the BCCI, the game's power-broker, are at a low. Financially the board has been hit hard by the lack of cricket in Pakistan and the extravagances of administrations gone.

The ICC has set-up a task force to help Pakistan through this difficult period, through which some concessions have emerged. The ECB has helped by offering to make this summer in England a Pakistani summer; Pakistan play 'host' for six Tests against Australia and England from June. The MCC has also done its bit, sponsoring the Pakistan-Australia series for the first time ever in its history.

PCB officials, including the chairman Ijaz Butt, are expected to meet with Lorgat on the sidelines of the main event, though little is expected from them, especially as an ICC board meeting begins in Dubai from next week. "The main issues will be dealt with in the board meetings, though obviously the chairman will meet Mr Lorgat on the sidelines here," Wasim Bari, the PCB's COO, told Cricinfo.

"Importantly, the spirit to help Pakistan is coming forward and that is very positive for us," Bari said. "The ECB cooperation came about as a result of the task force meetings. The MCC also wants to help Pakistan and has started the process with their sponsorship. They've even offered to host a Test between Pakistan and India should that happen, so these are gains for us."

Lack of cricket has been a concern for Pakistan over the last three years, a period in which they went one whole calendar year (2008) without playing a single Test. In contrast, commitments have picked up. Following the World Twenty20, they go to Sri Lanka to play in the Asia Cup and then begins the lengthy English summer. A full series of Tests, ODIs and T20Is, has been scheduled for sometime in October, to be played most likely in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. There exists also the possibility of another series to take Pakistan into the 2011 World Cup.

"Pakistan has plenty of international cricket coming up in all three formats of the game over the next few months," Lorgat said. "That is hugely important considering it is not possible for the national team to play on home soil at present. The international cricket that is planned shows that Pakistan has not been isolated by the unfortunate circumstances at home. It is vital that the team continues to play regularly, even if that is at a neutral venue."

Butt will travel to the ICC meeting next week, planning to negotiate some more fixtures, though details are as yet unclear. The task force had discussed the idea of a series of limited-overs matches between Pakistan and a World XI side in the Middle East to raise funds but that hasn't been able to find a place in the calendar yet.

"This year is busy for us anyway," Bari said. "But the chairman goes to Dubai and there is a possibility that negotiations that are underway could bring forth some more international matches at a venue. These are initial stages of such plans but there are lots of proposals. To turn ideas into reality will take some effort but the attitude from everyone is positive."

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