BD’s refusal to play Tests will hurt Pakistan’s chances in ICC Championship

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Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)’s decision to skip the Test series here will dent Pakistan’s prospects of staying in the race for the ICC Test World Test Championship because Azhar Ali’s men are not expected to be playing another Test until July when Pakistan tours England. — AP/File
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)’s decision to skip the Test series here will dent Pakistan’s prospects of staying in the race for the ICC Test World Test Championship because Azhar Ali’s men are not expected to be playing another Test until July when Pakistan tours England. — AP/File

LAHORE: Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)’s decision to skip the Test series here will dent Pakistan’s prospects of staying in the race for the ICC Test World Test Championship because Azhar Ali’s men are not expected to be playing another Test until July when Pakistan tours England.

Currently, Pakistan are the ranked fourth in the ICC World Test Championship with 80 points in the nine-team table. Had Bangladesh visited Pakistan as per the schedule this month, Pakistan could have obtained maximum points to put themselves in a better position.

But the BCB has now decided not to play the two Tests but are ready to play three T20 matches to avoid a longer stay in Pakistan on security grounds. However, the PCB is adamant on playing the scheduled Test matches first while showing little interest in the series of three T20s.

Though PCB and BCB may initiate a dialogue on the sidelines of the upcoming ICC meeting in Dubai to further discuss the fate of Bangl­adesh’s tour, there are remote hopes of a positive outcome of that meeting since the decision to avoid playing Tests in Pakistan here has been taken by the Bangladesh government.

Interestingly, the ICC has yet to announce a set policy about awarding points in cases where one country refuses to play Test cricket in another country. A decision in this regard is likely to be taken in March.

The decision will have a deep affect on Pakistan’s position in the ICC World Test Championship. They had played their last Test against Sri Lanka in Karachi from Dec 19- 23 and their next series is against England from July 30, and beating England in England will not be easy.

Pakistan have to play seven Tests in 2020 but now they may play two Test matches less after Bangladesh’s refusal.

Surprisingly, so far Pakistan have played only four Tests of the ICC Test Championship but the three countries, who were part of the controversial Big Three formula two and a half years ago, have been regularly in action in Test matches. India have played seven Tests, Australia ten and England seven.

At the other end of the table, Pakistan along with Sri Lanka (four Tests), West Indies (two) and Bangladesh (two) are placed.

New Zealand and South Africa, despite having played five Tests each, are also struggling at sixth and seventh places, respectively. India top the standings with 360 points while the Australians are second with 296 points and England are third.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020