Pakistan v Australia 2014

Pakistan-Australia Test series set to be downsized

Daniel Brettig

January 14, 2014

Comments: 198 | Text size: A | A
Chappell: Two-Test series not worth it

Australia's Test series against Pakistan in October this year will be downsized to the minimum two matches, while the venue for the encounter is expected to be confirmed as the UAE.

Despite the ICC Future Tours Programme dictating that the tour would consist of three Tests, the PCB has negotiated for the removal of one five-day match to be replaced by a series of limited-overs matches, likely to include three ODIs and a Twenty20 fixture.

While the location of these matches is yet to be finalised, the loss of a Test from the fixture list is certain. This schedule is expected to bring in a more lucrative broadcast fee for the cash-pressured governing body of cricket in Pakistan, forced to subsist on series played in neutral venues since the terrorist attack on the touring Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.

"Our expectation will be that it will be in the UAE, and my expectation is that it won't be three Test matches, it will probably be two Test matches and a combination of one-dayers," James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, told ABC Radio during the Sydney Ashes Test. "Perhaps with a view to the fact there's a World Cup here in Australia and New Zealand in February and March 2015.

"It's the hosts' call on that and we'll work as closely as we can with them, there's a reciprocal arrangement, we wouldn't like to be playing a series of less than three but that's their choice how they balance that, and at the end of the day, Pakistan are not able to host international cricket in Pakistan, their commercial viability is really affected by that, so we respect their position and the decisions they need to make there."

Apart from the UAE, the only other plausible venue for a Test match is Qatar, where the PCB is presently hosting a women's tournament. However stadium facilities and infrastructure in the nation set to host the next football World Cup are not as advanced or varied as those in the UAE, with Dubai host to the ICC's headquarters and global cricket academy.

The most recent encounter between the two nations was also played over just two Tests, the "MCC Spirit of Cricket" series which took place in England in the northern summer of 2010 and was split 1-1 when Pakistan won at Headingley after Australia's victory at Lord's. While CA have spoken consistently of their desire for Test bouts of at least three matches' duration, their own schedule is increasingly light on such series.


Michael Clarke helped Australia out of a hole in a fighting third-wicket partnership with Ricky Ponting, Pakistan v Australia, 2nd Test, Headingley, July 22, 2010
Australia and Pakistan have not met in Tests since the 2010 series in England © AFP
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Apart from blue-chip contests against England (five Tests) and India (four), Australia have played two-Test series against New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa in recent times. Their next visit to the West Indies in May 2015 is also scheduled to include the bare minimum two Tests.

"The programme is a real challenge, there's no doubt for us as administrators it is one of the most difficult things we do and we often talk about it in the context of being a three-dimensional game of chess," Sutherland said. "Unlike other sporting codes we don't have a unilateral ability to work out what our programme might be, we have to see what's going on in other parts of the world, what country is playing where and how. And we need to work out the international programme and then work out the best we can from the domestic programme."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (January 20, 2014, 22:49 GMT)

the fact that pakistan are not playing any tests in the next 9 months is ridiculous. As a supporter i cant wait to watch my team play test cricket and especially after the result today against SL. I dont blame the board either, whats all this stupid situation about india, england and australia running the show. The last time pakistan played england they thrashed them in tests. and beat india and done well agaainst australia too. Pakistan are right to change the 3rd test to ODIs as they want to play ODIs against the good teams before the world cup year. SO why are some pakistanis hating on the PCB?? its the so called big 3 that are ruining Cricket. and i say so called because South Africa is the best team right now.

Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (January 17, 2014, 12:41 GMT)

National boards are voting with their feet on Test cricket. If the ICC and the leading board (yes, this means the Big Men in the Sky Boxes of the BCCI) do not come up with a really solid plan for financing Tests to make them competitive with one day forms, then Tests really will fade away into the background.

Posted by SlipsGlance on (January 16, 2014, 5:07 GMT)

@dunger.bob, there's are always countries that have an effective veto over scheduling (e.g. India now, Australia and England in the past). I can't see them handing over the machine that prints the money to a supposedly neutral middle-man.

Also, I hate the recent history of meaningless 2- and 3-Test series between Aus and SA. 1-0, 1-1, so what? It proves nothing. What if we had a 3-series cycle over the decade featuring one 5-Test series in Australia, one 5-Test series in SA, and one series of 3 Tests in each country.

In the years when we play a Boxing Day Test in SA, Melbourne could get a heavily hyped Australia Day Test. It would give the latte-sipping PR drones at CA something to do in between grooming their ponytails and apologizing for the latest social media gaffe.

Posted by   on (January 15, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

@Dave brown where you are Ajmal the world best spinner is with Pakistan. Australia never produce this type of bowler's.

Posted by   on (January 15, 2014, 16:51 GMT)

Replacing a TEST match with limited overs, no matter how dire financial straits you are in, leads me to the conclusion that the PCB has been led by many numskulls in its time but THIS administration simply takes the cake! I am totally disgusted with the way cricket is run in my country. Considering we win any matches at all with this dysfunctional board, convinces me that we must have the most uncanny talent in the world! Non-Pakistanis, all I can say is, not all of us are blind to what real cricket is, despite our board's best attempts to make us look like frivolous fans of hit and run!

Posted by   on (January 15, 2014, 11:51 GMT)

ICC should standardize the series program as 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and 2 T20s and possibly adding a couple of three dayers. This way there would be some sort of balance in International calendar. Also it should be mandatory for each test playing nation to include one tour of an associate member.

Posted by David_Bofinger on (January 15, 2014, 11:45 GMT)

I'd rather have four series against different teams, each of two or three tests, than I would ten tests consecutively against England. It's the number of tests and the days of cricket that matter, not how many in a row against someone in particular. In this case we've lost a test and gained some one day matches, well, that might be good or bad according to your taste but certainly worse things happen in cricket. There's nothing here that seems worth getting upset about.

Posted by DylanBrah on (January 15, 2014, 11:40 GMT)

I am tired of vsing the same teams all the time.. South Africa, England, India... every year.. but we never vs. Pakistan. There should be more than 2 Tests in 3-4 years between these two nations.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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