KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has requested the Australian and New Zealand boards to send their teams to Pakistan to play the T20 matches instead of the United Arab Emirates.
An official source in the PCB told Press Trust of India news agency that during the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Kolkata late last month, PCB chairman Najam Sethi and chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed had held talks with the Australian and New Zealand officials.
“The two boards have been requested to play the T20 matches of their series in Pakistan to help support the PCB in bringing back international cricket to the country,” the official is quoted as saying.
Pakistan will host Australia for three Test matches and a T20 match in the UAE in October followed by a series of three Tests, five ODIs and three T20 Internationals in November against New Zealand.
Last year, also the PCB managed to convince the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to send its team to Lahore to play the final T20 match of a series in the UAE, which went off successfully.
Before the Sri Lankan’s visit in late October, the PCB also hosted the ICC World XI team -- which featured top-level international players including South Africa’s Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel, David Miller, Imran Tahir, Thisara Perera of Sri Lanka, West Indies’ Darren Sammy, Samuel Badree and Australia’s Tim Paine -- for a three-match T20 series in Lahore while last month Pakistan played three T20 International matches in Karachi against the West Indies.
All these matches were staged smoothly without any untoward incident which strengthened PCB’s efforts for international cricket revival in Pakistan.
“The PCB is trying to follow a slow and steady process to bring back international cricket fully to Pakistan,” the official said.
He said the Australian and New Zealand boards were reluctant because of security concerns but would look into the Pakistan request.
Giles Clarke, who heads the ICC’s special task force on Pakistan cricket submitted a positive report about international cricket returning to the country at the ICC board meeting in Kolkata.
Pakistan’s security arrangements for the matches with the ICC World XI, Sri Lanka, and West Indies and for the Pakistan Super League matches held in Lahore and Karachi earned praise from the board members and from independent reports of security experts.
Pakistan has lined up a total of 29 ODIs before next year’s World Cup in England and is keen to few of them being played at home.
PCB officials are also due to meet with the Emirates Cricket Board officials in Dubai this week to discuss Pakistan’s concern over having the T10 league in November or the planned Afghan league, when Pakistan will be playing its home series in the UAE.
The PCB has signalled moving its home series from the UAE to Malaysia if the ECB didn’t accept their demands but an insider said there was zero chance of this happening since when PCB officials visited Kuala Lumpur in March they realised that while T20 or ODIs could be held there but having a Test match was not possible due to the rains and hot weather and other facilities.
“Most likely the series against Australia and New Zealand will be held in the UAE,” he said.
Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2018