Akhtar praised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for its effort in bringing back cricket to the country and urged the fans to not speak ill of Bangladesh which the pacer believed were forced by unseen pressures. “We must give credit to the PCB. It is because of their hard work that international cricket has returned to the country. I would like to urge people to not speak ill of Bangladesh. They are doing this because of many unseen pressures. I cannot publicly speak about those pressures. The BCB has to deal with political scenarios and pressure groups. However, the prospect of Pakistan giving up its hosting rights for the Asia Cup for the tour of Bangladesh seems very unreasonable to me,” Akhtar said. The legendary former pacer claimed that there was a lot of speculation with regards to the series which could have future implications on the Asia Cup. “There have been a lot of speculation over Bangladesh’s tour of Pakistan. Many believe that Bangladesh was successful in getting what it wanted. Others claim that Bangladesh bartered the hosting rights for the Asia Cup in return for touring Pakistan. This barter deal would result in the Asia Cup being played in Bangladesh instead of Pakistan,” he said. Akhtar believed that Pakistan was a safe country and the split series was unnecessary. “Pakistan is a very safe country. The security protocols provided are great. Many cricketers have also testified in defence of Pakistan’s security,” he said. “A broken up tour makes little sense to me. It is still good that they are at least coming for the tour. This broken series however does not send the right message to the world.” The former pacer revealed that the series against Bangladesh would be tough for Pakistan who cannot afford to lose at their home ground. “This will be a hard series for Pakistan. They cannot afford to lose against them in the series. A loss would create big question marks over the entire team structure. Pakistan need to be well prepared for the series,” he concluded.