LAHORE - Pakistan is likely to host home series against Australia in United Arab Emirates as Australians have refused to play in Zimbabwe, it has been learnt reliably.
Earlier, Sri Lankan have offered Pakistan to host their home series against Australia in Sri Lanka but after the announcement of inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League schedule, Lanka has withdrawn their offer for the series due to coincidence of the series itinerary with the dates for its local Premier League.
Pakistan was compelled to look other alternate venues for the series as they were in talks with Zimbabwe, South Africa and Malaysia to host series against Australia there but PCB failed to finalise the venue by now.
After the inability of Sri Lanka to host series Pakistan were compelled to reconsider United Arab Emirates as a venue. Pakistan was keen to host Australia in Zimbabwe but Aussies are not ready to play in Zimbabwe as they last played one Test there in 1999.
On the other hand, second choice South Africa is ready to host the series but hosting there will prove very costly to Pakistan Cricket Board instead of earning revenue they will be at the receiving end.
Meanwhile, PCB chief Zaka Ashraf has said that India could host his team’s upcoming series against Australia. Pakistan have shortlisted the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Zimbabwe and South Africa as venues, and India may be considered, Mr Ashraf said.
“We are seeing where the cost will be less,” he said. “If the cost is less (in India) there’s no harm in organising Pakistan’s home series at some good venue.” Zaka Ashraf said.
Zaka Ashraf has accepted the invitation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India to the final in Chennai on Sunday. The bilateral series has been suspended since 2008 after the terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.
Pakistan is adamant to hold the series in any circumstances as they neither want to cancel the series nor to defer the series after the conclusion of World Twenty20 Cup to be played in Sri Lanka from September 18.
PCB has left with two options, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and UAE . Kuala Lumpur ground has all the facilities required for international matches. Secondly, the UAE has an edge over Kuala Lumpur, hot weather, conditions and turning tracks as in Sri Lanka and Australia will prefer to play series in UAE
Pakistan was declining to host the series in UAE due to holy month of Ramazan and severe heat in the desert but the offer made by Emirates Cricket Board Chief Dilawar Mani to host the series in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, PCB had caught in a position from where neither it reject nor accept the offer made by UAE .
Dilawar Mani, CEO of ECB has confirmed to the that an offer to host this series had been made and was under discussion by the PCB. He also offered the rationale behind the suggestion to arrange the matches in the desert emirate.
“The proposal to hold this ODI series has been made and is under consideration by the PCB. The actual offer is for Pakistan and Australia to play a series consisting only of T20 games. Usually there are restrictions on the maximum number of T20s that can be played in a year but, I am sure that the ICC can make a special dispensation especially given that the Twenty20 World Cup will be held this year” stated Mani.
“Instead of playing a mixture of T20s and ODIs - we are proposing that the teams play 7 Twenty20s - with each game starting at 8pm to negate the effect of the sun. Heat may be a factor but for sportsmen this should not be a problem. In my experience, it’s usually the humidity that is sapping but in a 3 hour long T20 game with one side fielding for 1 and half hours, I don’t see a big issue for fit and professional cricketers. “
Both Pakistan and Australia have played in the UAE in the past and playing conditions in terms of pitches will not be too different from those that will be encountered in Sri Lanka during the World Cup.
“We have offered 3 venues in the UAE to the PCB to play these games - these are Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, both Pakistan and Australia will be well served by playing a series in the UAE and I’m hopeful that the PCB will decide in our favour.”
The time is running out of the Pakistan Cricket Board hands and now it has to decide the venue at the earliest possible otherwise it will be too late that may cause delay in hosting the series.