KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is mulling over the national team’s participation in a tri-nation series in New Zealand involving the hosts and Bangladesh ahead of October’s ICC T20 World Cup, which is set to be played in Australia.

The PCB has been formally approached by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for the series, which is likely to be scheduled in the first week of October with the World Cup to start in the middle of the month.

“The NZC has invited the PCB for a tri-series in New Zealand in the lead up to the T20 World Cup,” the PCB spokesperson told Dawn.

“We are presently reviewing the invite and will revert to the NZC following a consultation process.”

While Bangladesh, who also received NZC’s invitation, have confirmed their participation in the series, Pakistan’s packed schedule in September has kept the PCB from taking a decision straightaway.

Pakistan will feature in the T20 Asia Cup from September 1-17 before hosting England for a seven-match T20 series, of which the dates are yet to be decided.

The games being arranged outside the pre-decided Future Tours Program is another factor that is under PCB’s consideration. However, sources said the final decision will be made by the Saqlain Mushtaq-led Pakistan team management bearing in mind the players’ workload.

Pakistan’s cricketing relations with New Zealand were dealt a blow when the latter unilaterally aborted their tour to the country hours before the first match citing security concerns.

Dawn understands NZC compensated the PCB financially for its losses after the Kiwis’ withdrawal. According to sources, it paid a “substantial” amount to cover the cost the PCB bore for the visitors’ accommodation, security and arrangements at venues New Zealand’s abrupt decision to quit the tour had also triggered a strong reaction from the PCB and criticism by its chairman Ramiz Raja.

Months later New Zealand promised to return to Pakistan for a three-match One-day International series and two Test matches in December-January and five one-dayers and as many T20s in April 2023.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2022

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