January 26, 2009

A home away from home

David Furrows
Why Pakistan need to seriously consider the option of playing their home series overseas
  shares 34



There's no getting away from the fact that the security issue has made Pakistan unattractive to touring teams © AFP

It's the end of January 2007. India and Pakistan have both just completed 2-1 Test series defeats in South Africa. The ageing Indian side won the First Test convincingly and then fell apart, while the young Pakistan team was competitive right through to the last day of a low-scoring series. If anything the Pakistanis look to have a brighter future, with only Inzamam-ul-Haq and Shoaib Akhtar nearing retirement. Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik and Umar Gul missed the series.

Across the Indian Ocean, Australia has just swept the Ashes 5-0, but has lost Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn to retirement, and seems to be facing the imminent loss of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. It looks as if world cricket will soon be entering a new phase in which Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan will be pretty evenly matched.

Leap forward two years and we instead find that cricket has split into two tiers. The Big Four of India, Australia, South Africa and England now have most of the money and play one another endlessly, while Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and to a lesser extent West Indies and New Zealand, have joined Bangladesh in near-oblivion, consigned to empty calendars interspersed with the odd two-match Test series. The split mirrors club football, where pay TV income has ensured that a Big Four of English clubs now dominates.

The two tiers are defined by the relative financial muscle of the cricket boards, but as the Big Four play one another, their players become more experienced and technically skilled, while players from the other countries stagnate. The rich get richer.

By Easter 2009, Australia will have played home and away series against both South Africa and India in the space of just 16 months. In stark contrast, Pakistan did not play a single Test match in 2008, with the result that its team is falling apart as the young players fail to develop their skills and the older players defect to the ICL.

Mitchell Johnson and Sohail Tanvir made their Test debuts within a fortnight of one another in November 2007. Johnson now has 78 wickets and 439 runs from 18 Tests, including two five-wicket bags and two fifties. Tanvir has five wickets and 17 runs from two Tests. Johnson now is a proven Test player, while Tanvir remains a novice.

Pakistan now stands at the edge of a precipice. Its players are not developing because they are not playing competitive cricket, while the PCB is financially crippled by its inactivity. Meanwhile the public is starved of international cricket on TV and is reduced to following the Lahore Badshahs in the ICL. An entire generation of young players, including the likes of Butt, Malik, Tanvir, Gul and Danish Kaneria, is going nowhere.

National pride and misplaced optimism have led the PCB to persist with trying to schedule home series in Pakistan. Over the last few years what series there have been have been getting shorter, and as people in western countries increasingly link Pakistan with the Afghan situation, there is an increasing reluctance for western players with young families to even consider visiting. The South Africans made it clear when the 2008 Champions Trophy was cancelled that they considered the situation to have deteriorated in the few months since their previous visit.

The outcome is that no one is touring and Pakistan's calendar is as empty as Zimbabwe's. Again, the blame can be attributed to the failure of the previous PCB to programme visits, but the current ICC Future Tours Programme has introduced the concept of two-Test series, and virtually every country in the world has taken this as a licence to shorten its visits to Pakistan. Shorter tours offer obvious advantages in terms of reduced insurance premiums and better player morale - not to mention that tours to Pakistan are never lucrative for the visitors. The upshot is that in recent years the Big Four have all played twice as many Tests as Pakistan, and even Bangladesh is now playing more.

For Pakistan this isolation marks the start of a very damaging cycle. New Zealand has shown graphically what happens if you fill your calendar with one-day and Twenty20 series, with the odd two-Test series in between. The players develop poor techniques and perform badly, with the result that they are even less in demand for long tours and are ill-equipped to perform on unfamiliar pitches.

 
 
Pakistan could schedule a "home" series against either of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and West Indies in England every summer, and given that the full tour to England has always been the most lucrative revenue earner for those boards - in part because those countries have large populations resident in England - they may even consider four- or five-Test series
 

So what options are there for Pakistan?

The first is to persist with trying to schedule home series in Pakistan. The calendar then will be largely empty, with only the non-white countries scuttling in and out for short two-Test series. Home Tests in Pakistan are traditionally played in virtually empty stadia, so it is difficult to see who the target audience is in this arrangement. There is an argument that larger crowds might attend Tests in smaller centres like Multan, but of course that entails even more discomfort for visiting teams and would probably further discourage them from visiting. This option means more of the same: playing fewer than half as many Tests per years as the Big Four and generating far less than half the revenue. This would effectively consign Pakistan to the second tier for the foreseeable future.

The second option is to schedule home series in empty stadia in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah or Malaysia. The crowds and gate receipts would be minimal, and as we saw in 2002-03, when Australia used high-tech ice vests to cope with the heat, the opposition would be at least as at home in the conditions. Besides, Pakistan's best pace bowler is barred from entering the UAE.

The third option is far more compelling because it offers potential entry to the Big Four club. It involves long-term planning to host series in other Test-playing countries, both during the remaining 58 months of Pakistan's existing TV-rights contract and beyond that time. Pakistan could play most of its "home" series in England, scheduling Test matches on days in summer when England is not playing home Tests. There is little cricket overseas at that time of year, and so the boards of the opposing countries are likely to see this as a potential revenue earner. Headingley, Old Trafford and The Oval would offer substantial gate receipts due to the local Pakistani diaspora.

In England this year - one where they host the Ashes and the World Twenty20 - there are at least 30 unused international-free days in the middle of the season. Any other year would be even more wide open.

The TV rights would be a key factor in the viability of playing "home" Tests in England. The current rights were sold for five years to Ten Sports, but clearly in the expectation of an average of only a single two-Test series per year. The value of rights for matches hosted in England would be far higher, in part because the "away" boards would be amenable to making longer tours, and also because of the peculiar demographics of British TV viewers. Of course, there may be potential complications to do with Sky's deal with the ECB, but a solution can be worked out, especially considering neutral Tests are an idea the ECB is itself considering.

In the world of British pay TV, football is everything, not least because summer sports such as golf and tennis are of little interest, except to the highest social demographic. Wimbledon gets decent viewership figures but the French Open a fortnight earlier attracts little notice. Cricket has considerably more appeal to the British public than golf, athletics or tennis. With football effectively out of season from the end of April to the end of August, Sky and Setanta struggle to fill their schedules. And it surely would not be too complex or expensive to use the same equipment and facilities that are used to televise existing international cricket in England for matches that are deliberately scheduled not to clash.



West Indies has been a favourite with England fans. What better place for Pakistan to play England? © Getty Images

There are now eight Test grounds in the UK, but with Lord's usually hosting two Tests per summer, inevitably two or three counties miss out on hosting an England Test every year. Pakistan's home Tests could be a lucrative consolation for those venues.

Pakistan could schedule a "home" series against either of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and West Indies in England every summer, and given that the full tour to England has always been the most lucrative revenue earner for those boards - in part because those countries have large populations resident in England - they may even consider four- or five-Test series.

The PCB could also schedule an additional annual home series against one of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England elsewhere. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have a similar need to develop their players' techniques on fast and bouncy wickets to prepare for when they tour Australia and South Africa, so where better to schedule series against those teams than in South Africa? If India has a four-Test series away to Australia in the New Year, they would be far better prepared if they were coming off three Tests against Pakistan in South Africa before Christmas.

Series against India would attract lucrative TV rights and sponsorship wherever they occur, whereas matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have limited appeal. Those series could be viewed as player-development opportunities and scheduled for smaller centres like East London, Bloemfontein and Potchefstroom, where the novelty of international cricket would at least bring in some crowds.

As for England, the PCB could consider hosting home series against them in Antigua, Barbados and Jamaica. The Barmy Army never shows much desire to visit Pakistan, but if they, and other England fans, could watch the series on the holiday islands of the Caribbean, we would almost certainly find the hotels and stadia packed with English tourists. Not only would the gate receipts be high but the future TV rights would be lucrative too, as Test cricket in the West Indies takes place during prime time in the English evening. The timing and venue offers little for Pakistan's fans, but the income would certainly help the PCB and the players.

Pakistan finds itself at a crossroads. It can persist with trying to host home series in Pakistan or the Middle East, but the outcome will be a mostly empty calendar. The coffers will run dry and the players will continue to depart for lucrative contracts overseas. Alternatively it can take the pragmatic route and host two annual home series, one in England and the other in South Africa or the West Indies. This compromise would fill the PCB's coffers and allow the team to develop its skills. It would also make the cricket boards of England, South Africa and West Indies into important allies. At present no one really wants to tour Pakistan. If the PCB has the courage to move series to desirable and lucrative venues, that reluctance may well disappear.

David Furrows is the former New Zealand correspondent of the Cricketer, Pakistan

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY dar268 on | January 28, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Interesting article but I'm not convinced. If there isn't to be any more Test cricket in Pakistan why don't they just play twice as many away series. Pakistan playing at home in England is just weird. And anyway, why won't teams play in Pakistan? England were keen enough to return to India after the Mumbai bombing...what's the difference? Money of course.

  • POSTED BY Theena on | January 28, 2009, 11:27 GMT

    (contd..)

    Because we don't bring in TV revenue. Because we can't match an India or an Australia for gate receipts.

    The Future Tours Program is a silly joke.

  • POSTED BY Theena on | January 28, 2009, 11:26 GMT

    Pakistan already tried a variation of this idea, did they not? I seem to recall a test match between Aus and Pakistan in Colombo sometime back. Mr. Furrows, I am sure you had the best of intentions in mind when you wrote this, but your article made for depressing reading. Not only did it bring to sharp focus the degree to which cricket is held hostage by the unpredictability of gung-ho geo politics, but sadly, and perhaps avoidably, we are at a stage in the game's development when we have to accept that revenue and cold cash is the priority of every major cricket board - be they among the so-called Big Four or otherwise - and not competitive cricket of the highest standards. It is utterly depressing to know that people like me, loyal Sri Lankan cricket fans, will never know what it means to see our team courted as intensely and as enthusiastically as they deserve or to not be granted an 'icon' status when we play a series against the best opposition. (Contd..)

  • POSTED BY chooha1 on | January 28, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    This article is right. Pakistan should atleast play in neutral venues rather than not playing at all!

  • POSTED BY tsam on | January 28, 2009, 2:48 GMT

    It is a very good idea which is exactly why PCB won't even consider it. Name one thing the PCB has done right in the recent past. To Hiteshdevilliers: India is the least viable option since (1) even slight deterioration in India-Pakistan political relations would cause opposition to the Pakistani team staying and playing in India, (2) extremists on both sides of the border would be opposed to the idea and (3) the Pakistan team would have no supporters in India. England is most sensible option in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY ASH_76 on | January 27, 2009, 23:11 GMT

    LOL!! Tell me your joking..Right? I think England, India and Australia should shift their test venues to Pakistan. Pakistan now have 7 test venues..All world class, It will also allow much needed extra revenue to help develop local starved cricketers. We'll even throw in a Castle four xxxx for you larger loats and cut a very nice deal on the TV revenue deals. Im sure, with the extra revenue coming in the PCB wont get too greedy, say 20%. We'll even allow you the top three to be classed as top tier teams just for good measure! BTW India is a the largest democracy in the world and believes in free trade i.e. foreign ivst, so tell me why is the ICL not recognised? Why isnt the ICL taking legal action against the BCCI, what the hell why arent the players taking up issue of free movement of workers? England players certainly can as their is i believe a EC directive that makes it against the law to stop member countries from placing restrictions on employment, possible action against the ECB

  • POSTED BY CurryNCricket on | January 27, 2009, 16:48 GMT

    Excellent article. One more suggestion for PCB. They can always come to North America and play against India or other teams. PCB can arrange rights for their TV broadcasting rights if is legal. We are as thirstier for cricket as Pakistani people. If no wants to go there, they can go North America. ICC should look in to that. US cricket lovers will thrive to see that, trust me.

  • POSTED BY Hiteshdevilliers on | January 27, 2009, 16:46 GMT

    I think playing "Home" series at neutral venues is a good idea. But I must ask why it is not possible to play home series in India. Yes, as of now relations between the two countries is strained due to the Mumbai carnage. But things should get back to normal soon as this is something that will never fully be solved. After every terrorist attack in India it is the same process of blaming and finger pointing. But back to the main point. Of the big four you describe, India is the most viable option. India has a vast muslim population which are fans of the Pakistan team. The pitches and conditions are most similar too that in Pakistan and there is just more of a "homely" advantage feel in India as compared to the other three. Of the big four, Pakistan has played most in India since 2004 and with considerable success too. The TV market in India is obviously now the biggest and most influential in world cricket. India is genuinely an option going into the future and it must be considered.

  • POSTED BY sam957 on | January 27, 2009, 15:48 GMT

    The article is extremely well written, kudos to David Furrows, and the idea of playing in England certainly provides food for thought, but the main problem in my opinion is that logistically playing outside your country on a regular basis will be very difficult. Firstly, the whole concept of a "home" game is lost, Pakistani cricketers will no longer be as comfortable and familiar with the conditions as they are in Pak.Apart from that if Pakistan does move its matches to England it maybe a very very long time before it gets to play back home, because cricketers will be even less ready to travel to Pak, even if the situation gets better there in a couple of years or so, because foreign boards will know that the Pakistani board has the opportunity to stage the games in England, which is a more viable option for the visiting countries.My point is that once the benchmark has been created, no one will be willing to move back and accept that the situation in Pak is good enough for cricket.

  • POSTED BY Farhan166 on | January 27, 2009, 13:17 GMT

    The idea is a load of nonsense. The problem lies with Pakistan Board for being so spineless and apologetic to these countries. If the western countries don't want to come to Pakistan then let them stay where they are. Believe me it is not worth the trouble to beg and plead the arrogant Australian or other teams to visit Pakistan. Nothing is more important than national pride. It is not the least regrettable if players like Andrew Symonds or Michael Clarke don't want to come to Pakistan. Most of the western cricketers think they are on a different planet if they don't find a pub within half a kilometer radius of their existence. Pakistan should also boycott visits to these countries and take this opportunitiy to improve their first class cricket and produce great cricketers which they used to. There are a lot of other important issues to tackle in Pakistan, I am sure Pakistanis can also live without cricket.If bombs goes off in Mumbai/London they will play, but treat Pak with disdain.

  • POSTED BY dar268 on | January 28, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Interesting article but I'm not convinced. If there isn't to be any more Test cricket in Pakistan why don't they just play twice as many away series. Pakistan playing at home in England is just weird. And anyway, why won't teams play in Pakistan? England were keen enough to return to India after the Mumbai bombing...what's the difference? Money of course.

  • POSTED BY Theena on | January 28, 2009, 11:27 GMT

    (contd..)

    Because we don't bring in TV revenue. Because we can't match an India or an Australia for gate receipts.

    The Future Tours Program is a silly joke.

  • POSTED BY Theena on | January 28, 2009, 11:26 GMT

    Pakistan already tried a variation of this idea, did they not? I seem to recall a test match between Aus and Pakistan in Colombo sometime back. Mr. Furrows, I am sure you had the best of intentions in mind when you wrote this, but your article made for depressing reading. Not only did it bring to sharp focus the degree to which cricket is held hostage by the unpredictability of gung-ho geo politics, but sadly, and perhaps avoidably, we are at a stage in the game's development when we have to accept that revenue and cold cash is the priority of every major cricket board - be they among the so-called Big Four or otherwise - and not competitive cricket of the highest standards. It is utterly depressing to know that people like me, loyal Sri Lankan cricket fans, will never know what it means to see our team courted as intensely and as enthusiastically as they deserve or to not be granted an 'icon' status when we play a series against the best opposition. (Contd..)

  • POSTED BY chooha1 on | January 28, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    This article is right. Pakistan should atleast play in neutral venues rather than not playing at all!

  • POSTED BY tsam on | January 28, 2009, 2:48 GMT

    It is a very good idea which is exactly why PCB won't even consider it. Name one thing the PCB has done right in the recent past. To Hiteshdevilliers: India is the least viable option since (1) even slight deterioration in India-Pakistan political relations would cause opposition to the Pakistani team staying and playing in India, (2) extremists on both sides of the border would be opposed to the idea and (3) the Pakistan team would have no supporters in India. England is most sensible option in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY ASH_76 on | January 27, 2009, 23:11 GMT

    LOL!! Tell me your joking..Right? I think England, India and Australia should shift their test venues to Pakistan. Pakistan now have 7 test venues..All world class, It will also allow much needed extra revenue to help develop local starved cricketers. We'll even throw in a Castle four xxxx for you larger loats and cut a very nice deal on the TV revenue deals. Im sure, with the extra revenue coming in the PCB wont get too greedy, say 20%. We'll even allow you the top three to be classed as top tier teams just for good measure! BTW India is a the largest democracy in the world and believes in free trade i.e. foreign ivst, so tell me why is the ICL not recognised? Why isnt the ICL taking legal action against the BCCI, what the hell why arent the players taking up issue of free movement of workers? England players certainly can as their is i believe a EC directive that makes it against the law to stop member countries from placing restrictions on employment, possible action against the ECB

  • POSTED BY CurryNCricket on | January 27, 2009, 16:48 GMT

    Excellent article. One more suggestion for PCB. They can always come to North America and play against India or other teams. PCB can arrange rights for their TV broadcasting rights if is legal. We are as thirstier for cricket as Pakistani people. If no wants to go there, they can go North America. ICC should look in to that. US cricket lovers will thrive to see that, trust me.

  • POSTED BY Hiteshdevilliers on | January 27, 2009, 16:46 GMT

    I think playing "Home" series at neutral venues is a good idea. But I must ask why it is not possible to play home series in India. Yes, as of now relations between the two countries is strained due to the Mumbai carnage. But things should get back to normal soon as this is something that will never fully be solved. After every terrorist attack in India it is the same process of blaming and finger pointing. But back to the main point. Of the big four you describe, India is the most viable option. India has a vast muslim population which are fans of the Pakistan team. The pitches and conditions are most similar too that in Pakistan and there is just more of a "homely" advantage feel in India as compared to the other three. Of the big four, Pakistan has played most in India since 2004 and with considerable success too. The TV market in India is obviously now the biggest and most influential in world cricket. India is genuinely an option going into the future and it must be considered.

  • POSTED BY sam957 on | January 27, 2009, 15:48 GMT

    The article is extremely well written, kudos to David Furrows, and the idea of playing in England certainly provides food for thought, but the main problem in my opinion is that logistically playing outside your country on a regular basis will be very difficult. Firstly, the whole concept of a "home" game is lost, Pakistani cricketers will no longer be as comfortable and familiar with the conditions as they are in Pak.Apart from that if Pakistan does move its matches to England it maybe a very very long time before it gets to play back home, because cricketers will be even less ready to travel to Pak, even if the situation gets better there in a couple of years or so, because foreign boards will know that the Pakistani board has the opportunity to stage the games in England, which is a more viable option for the visiting countries.My point is that once the benchmark has been created, no one will be willing to move back and accept that the situation in Pak is good enough for cricket.

  • POSTED BY Farhan166 on | January 27, 2009, 13:17 GMT

    The idea is a load of nonsense. The problem lies with Pakistan Board for being so spineless and apologetic to these countries. If the western countries don't want to come to Pakistan then let them stay where they are. Believe me it is not worth the trouble to beg and plead the arrogant Australian or other teams to visit Pakistan. Nothing is more important than national pride. It is not the least regrettable if players like Andrew Symonds or Michael Clarke don't want to come to Pakistan. Most of the western cricketers think they are on a different planet if they don't find a pub within half a kilometer radius of their existence. Pakistan should also boycott visits to these countries and take this opportunitiy to improve their first class cricket and produce great cricketers which they used to. There are a lot of other important issues to tackle in Pakistan, I am sure Pakistanis can also live without cricket.If bombs goes off in Mumbai/London they will play, but treat Pak with disdain.

  • POSTED BY Arsh on | January 27, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    I have been preaching the same thing to the voices in my head

  • POSTED BY Tashfeen on | January 27, 2009, 9:11 GMT

    I think it is good idea which PCB needs to explore. We need to be logocal and accept the fact that even expatriate Pakistanis themselves think twice before coming to Pakistan on vacation. Till conditions improve and PCB has to do something to give the player matches to play to stay in practice and secure their futures. Inquiries into the loss against Sri Lanka would do no good when the players have not played against quality opposition for 2 years.

  • POSTED BY Saeed.Lodhi on | January 27, 2009, 7:06 GMT

    Its a brilliant Idea ..... at least Pakistan players can play some cricket and the Pakistanis get to their team in action ....

    Why didnt PCB thought of this idea before ..... they should grab it with both hands ..... no questions asked

  • POSTED BY kashmd on | January 27, 2009, 4:35 GMT

    i am surprised reading this article at cricinfo which seems to be influenced by India a lot. Its really refreshing that few still out there who are thinking about a cricketing nation who has produced wonders for cricket. It has been so disheartening to see Pakistan sidelined and cornered in recent years like it has done nothing for cricket in all these years. Hats off to you David that you are trying to find a solution , worrying about a great cricket playing nation dying unnoticed. Apart from all the double standards followed by different countries under influence of india, i strongly beleive that PCB should realize the fact and start scheduling series overseas for Pakistan. It may not only give support to the limping board and scratching players but may also help Pakistan to regain the fame and aura of typical pakistani cricket.

  • POSTED BY asim1 on | January 27, 2009, 3:04 GMT

    It's not the security situation that bothers touring nations, its the lack of interest that surrounds a tour with Pakistan. They used to be an attractive team with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis etc, now they have a bunch of no name players who fail to garner any interest. Financially, India is more attractive; this explains England's eagerness to return to India after the bombings, Pakistan offers nothing except for maybe some drama surrounding their players and their run ins with the narcotics department in Arab nations. About time they learn that home series are not a viable option, might as well pack their bags and go to England where they might actually see some supporters for the Pakistani side, whereas the uninterested cricket fans in the Emirates do Pakistan no good.

  • POSTED BY taree1 on | January 27, 2009, 1:06 GMT

    David Good Article, However The one point I would add that The cricket team is the Pakistan Cricket Team not a private team, If one want to Play Pakistani nationality cricketers maybe it can be called Davids 11. What is the use if a team that can not play cricket in front of its own people; In fact as a Pakistani I am starting to question what use is cricket to Pakistan. Its obvious that there are one rule when a bomb goes of in other countries and one when It goes off in Pakistan, but That is Life, I think may be its better that Pakistan start Playing a game like Baseball, If one has to play in other countries why not for more money and less issues

  • POSTED BY johnnybriggs on | January 26, 2009, 22:37 GMT

    I've seen England v Pakistan at Old Trafford. There were 15,000 people at least yelling Pakistan Zindabad!

  • POSTED BY futurecaptainofindia on | January 26, 2009, 21:21 GMT

    Excellent suggestion! A novel idea! It will however, involve a great deal of negotiation. And the PCB definitely does not have the higher bargaining power. Looking ahead I think depriving Pakistan of Tests for a short while may just be a blessing in disguise. If say after 2-3 years, Tests are re-commenced, I'm sure the cricket-starved public will take to them with enthusiasm.

    The cricketers meanwhile must involve themselves in quality First-class matches in other countries - England again, is high on the priority list. Although the ICL will provide immediate financial security, it is not a long term solution until and unless it introduces 4/5 day cricket into its program

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | January 26, 2009, 20:52 GMT

    David, "Home" Series means playing in your home country with the advantage of knowing the pitch, climate and the crowd.Playing at the neutral territory other than home is not "Home" series. Obviously, "Home" series in Pakistan is no longer feasible now because of rule of lawless chaos & the danger it poses to human lives. It is a serious issue which should put the onus on the ruling govt. to address the matter with "utmost seriousness it deserves urgently". Eliminating terrorism world wide is a far greater issue than Cricket.Pakistani terrorists recently infilterated into Mumbai to disrupt peace & Cricket in India. Sri Lanka have countered the terorism well. Even in England there were bomb attacks during the Lords test with Australian. If Pakistan wishes to play cricket, they will have to tour other countries and forget about "Home" series until terrorism is eliminated. Proposed alternatives are idealistic and impractical.

  • POSTED BY Sharkbait on | January 26, 2009, 17:44 GMT

    This is a great idea... I'm a South African living in london and myself and friends would definitely support this... I can even see myself at a pakistan/aussie game... and i would be supporting pakistan ABA (Anyone But Australia)

  • POSTED BY saadkhanani on | January 26, 2009, 15:35 GMT

    I agree that the PCB should give up on the naive belief that teams will agree to tour Pakistan and look for practical alternatives. I think there is a better solution than using third countries for home series. Pakistan should play both its home and away series in the away country and split revenues from tv rights. E.g., Pakistan plays both its quota of home and away tests against South Africa in South Africa with an agreement to share the tv revenue from the "home" quota of tests. Compared to the neutral venue solution advocated in the article, this will (1) increase stadium audience and tv audience because of the presence of a home team, and (2) increase the likelihood of an agreement because two negotiating parties will be involved instead of three.

  • POSTED BY moonuranus on | January 26, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    While I appreciate you trying to figure out how to make Pakistan play more, why a few countries would have to play Pakistan in England and the rest would be interested to play Pakistan in Pakistan?! Why do you think the security problems don't exist for players from other countries. I am sure the same problems like, security, discomfort just as you listed, exist for all the countries.Either every country plays "home" Tests against Pakistan in England or none plays. This idea seems to be a convenient way to get Pakistan play without getting some hands dirty while getting others dirty. And you would want India to play in Pakistan?! I am sure you have missed the newspapers lately.

  • POSTED BY adil786 on | January 26, 2009, 15:02 GMT

    i would love it pakistan were to play at old trafford because ive only been to a couple of matches there the others were sold out waaay to early for me. pak v aus or pak vs ind i would pay upto £150 for a ticket so would many other people do this is a good way for pcb and ecb to make money

  • POSTED BY Ahmer on | January 26, 2009, 14:51 GMT

    Very nice article...i wish that PCB had done the same research as it is done by the author..we need cricket..no matter where....

  • POSTED BY ShaanAgha1 on | January 26, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    Pakistan should play in UAE as their home away from home venue

  • POSTED BY u0jh on | January 26, 2009, 13:33 GMT

    Bombs went off in London but Australia's 2005 tour went on, in India last year England returned.

    Why the double standards when it comes to Pakistan? Especially from writers like yourself who are constantly building the case for teams not to tour Pakistan? Your double standards and bias is not what cricinfo readers need to see, and sadly cricinfo will lose it's following if such reporting continues.

  • POSTED BY FRENCHDESIZ on | January 26, 2009, 13:28 GMT

    Good article mate.I hope someone from PCB reading this.As the speculation of Pak,Aus series for playing on neutral venue are getting stronger.I would recommend PCB to held the series in England where they can possibly earn higher revenue in comparison to Sharjah or Malaysia etc.........

  • POSTED BY Jahangir_Nazar on | January 26, 2009, 13:02 GMT

    An interesting read, however playing 'home' matches abroad mars the essential significance. Where would the Pakistani fans go? What about the curators? The groundsmen? The domestic circuit? What about the 800 or so players who play the first class and Grade 2 cricket, all over Pakistan? Should they also be brought to UK to play the 'home' domestic season?

    It would be a better bet to come to Pakistan and look for your own self what it feels like to be here. It is very safe, with occasional crackers here and there. You don't need to forget the 7/7 event in London, Aussies were there and they didn't even mind. Why single out Pakistan then?

    Also the matter on ICL should be resolved amicably by the Pakistani board. Why should we listen to BCCI? We need to get our house in order first. Mr. Ijaz Butt seems incapable to do any good. He is another Shehreyar Khan in the making, Nasim Ashraf was much better.

  • POSTED BY Polorky on | January 26, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    Firstly it is not just the 'white' nation refusing to tour, I think you'll find India also cancelled their tour. It would obviously be preferential for Pakistan to host tests in Pakistan but you have to be realistic. If Australia, South Africa, England and India all refuse to tour then you're not left with much quality cricket. If Pakistan actually want to remain competitive they must consider other alternatives. It's not a great situation at all but the alternative is to continue with your head in the clouds and find that in two years time you have a cricket team on par with Bangladesh. Surely the most important thing here is the cricket team not whether the fans get to watch. Added to this is the fact that stadia are vitually empty anyway for tests, so really whats stopping you.

  • POSTED BY IndiaGoats on | January 26, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    No one wants to play "home" series in another country. The best option for PCB is to actively push the Pakistani government to get rid of the terrorists. Attack the root cause of the problem and get rid of the stigma that other countries attach to playing in Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY NBZ1 on | January 26, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    Scheduling series overseas sounds like a logical idea, but I am not sure how feasible it is. If Pakistan hosts series in England, which is obviously the best choice among other Test-playing countries, there is a lot of things the two boards have to work out- how the revenue would be shared, what kind of pitches would be prepared, not to mention the fact that sandwiching another series in between say the Ashes is bound to be pretty difficult. The author mentions how there are 30 unused slots in the summer calendar, but where's the guarantee that you are going to have 5 consecutive days with no international cricket? There is also the fact that hosting a series in England would be a real psychological blow to Pakistani cricket, since unlike hosting it in say UAE, this would be an implicit admission that Pakistan is not capable of hosting cricket anymore. Despite all this, I still think the author's idea deserves a shot, but only as a last resort after the other options have failed.

  • POSTED BY IndusKnight on | January 26, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    Mr. Furrows, you are right on the dot. Some people might be more optimistic and a little far from reality if they believe anyone but Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and SriLanka will ever come to Pakistan in near future. I hope PCB reads your article or someone tells them about it. The last admin at PCB was a bunch of thieves. I hope this one is a little honest to the nation and citizens. Anyway, cricket world has become nothing but whimsical playing arena of the rich. Pakistan must do something itself to become rich otherwise they will be shunned by the rich. By the way, I am pleasantly surprised to know that someone does care about Pakistan and Pakistan cricket. Thanks!

  • POSTED BY HundredPercentBarcelonista on | January 26, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    It all sounds good in the short run but the PCB needs to have one eye on bringing cricket back to Pakistan somewhere down the line.

    The problem they're facing is shared by West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. There are hardly any crowds for tests played in these countries. Why then should these countries not play their home matches overseas? In fact, even Australia, South Africa and India don't sell out test matches. And if revenue generation is so important then all cricket matches should be played in India, no?

  • POSTED BY cricket4shafiq on | January 26, 2009, 5:21 GMT

    First half was rational but 2nd half too much (irrational) to be digestive to a pakistani fan. Though Pakistan is a victim of world politics, making it isolated in its premium sports. if not beleieve , watch last ODI in Lahore, where 50K people enjoyed with big herats though team played pathetic. Well, I think bargain can be made on give & take basis---means playing T20 & ODI's in Pakistan , while tests in England against Australia & SouthAfrica. For England, NZL & WI, i will prefer to play in India, SL, Bagladesh, Malysia, UAE rather going elsewhere. While asian countries Bangladesh, SL , India and Zaimbabwe (hopefully WI too) have no big problems in coming Pak, so it is ok playing here in Pakistan. For practice on bouncy pitches-----some tri series ODI's can be arranged in different parts of the world. Pakistanis love cricket, they need boards to stand with them, not to deprive them.

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  • POSTED BY cricket4shafiq on | January 26, 2009, 5:21 GMT

    First half was rational but 2nd half too much (irrational) to be digestive to a pakistani fan. Though Pakistan is a victim of world politics, making it isolated in its premium sports. if not beleieve , watch last ODI in Lahore, where 50K people enjoyed with big herats though team played pathetic. Well, I think bargain can be made on give & take basis---means playing T20 & ODI's in Pakistan , while tests in England against Australia & SouthAfrica. For England, NZL & WI, i will prefer to play in India, SL, Bagladesh, Malysia, UAE rather going elsewhere. While asian countries Bangladesh, SL , India and Zaimbabwe (hopefully WI too) have no big problems in coming Pak, so it is ok playing here in Pakistan. For practice on bouncy pitches-----some tri series ODI's can be arranged in different parts of the world. Pakistanis love cricket, they need boards to stand with them, not to deprive them.

  • POSTED BY HundredPercentBarcelonista on | January 26, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    It all sounds good in the short run but the PCB needs to have one eye on bringing cricket back to Pakistan somewhere down the line.

    The problem they're facing is shared by West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. There are hardly any crowds for tests played in these countries. Why then should these countries not play their home matches overseas? In fact, even Australia, South Africa and India don't sell out test matches. And if revenue generation is so important then all cricket matches should be played in India, no?

  • POSTED BY IndusKnight on | January 26, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    Mr. Furrows, you are right on the dot. Some people might be more optimistic and a little far from reality if they believe anyone but Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and SriLanka will ever come to Pakistan in near future. I hope PCB reads your article or someone tells them about it. The last admin at PCB was a bunch of thieves. I hope this one is a little honest to the nation and citizens. Anyway, cricket world has become nothing but whimsical playing arena of the rich. Pakistan must do something itself to become rich otherwise they will be shunned by the rich. By the way, I am pleasantly surprised to know that someone does care about Pakistan and Pakistan cricket. Thanks!

  • POSTED BY NBZ1 on | January 26, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    Scheduling series overseas sounds like a logical idea, but I am not sure how feasible it is. If Pakistan hosts series in England, which is obviously the best choice among other Test-playing countries, there is a lot of things the two boards have to work out- how the revenue would be shared, what kind of pitches would be prepared, not to mention the fact that sandwiching another series in between say the Ashes is bound to be pretty difficult. The author mentions how there are 30 unused slots in the summer calendar, but where's the guarantee that you are going to have 5 consecutive days with no international cricket? There is also the fact that hosting a series in England would be a real psychological blow to Pakistani cricket, since unlike hosting it in say UAE, this would be an implicit admission that Pakistan is not capable of hosting cricket anymore. Despite all this, I still think the author's idea deserves a shot, but only as a last resort after the other options have failed.

  • POSTED BY IndiaGoats on | January 26, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    No one wants to play "home" series in another country. The best option for PCB is to actively push the Pakistani government to get rid of the terrorists. Attack the root cause of the problem and get rid of the stigma that other countries attach to playing in Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY Polorky on | January 26, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    Firstly it is not just the 'white' nation refusing to tour, I think you'll find India also cancelled their tour. It would obviously be preferential for Pakistan to host tests in Pakistan but you have to be realistic. If Australia, South Africa, England and India all refuse to tour then you're not left with much quality cricket. If Pakistan actually want to remain competitive they must consider other alternatives. It's not a great situation at all but the alternative is to continue with your head in the clouds and find that in two years time you have a cricket team on par with Bangladesh. Surely the most important thing here is the cricket team not whether the fans get to watch. Added to this is the fact that stadia are vitually empty anyway for tests, so really whats stopping you.

  • POSTED BY Jahangir_Nazar on | January 26, 2009, 13:02 GMT

    An interesting read, however playing 'home' matches abroad mars the essential significance. Where would the Pakistani fans go? What about the curators? The groundsmen? The domestic circuit? What about the 800 or so players who play the first class and Grade 2 cricket, all over Pakistan? Should they also be brought to UK to play the 'home' domestic season?

    It would be a better bet to come to Pakistan and look for your own self what it feels like to be here. It is very safe, with occasional crackers here and there. You don't need to forget the 7/7 event in London, Aussies were there and they didn't even mind. Why single out Pakistan then?

    Also the matter on ICL should be resolved amicably by the Pakistani board. Why should we listen to BCCI? We need to get our house in order first. Mr. Ijaz Butt seems incapable to do any good. He is another Shehreyar Khan in the making, Nasim Ashraf was much better.

  • POSTED BY FRENCHDESIZ on | January 26, 2009, 13:28 GMT

    Good article mate.I hope someone from PCB reading this.As the speculation of Pak,Aus series for playing on neutral venue are getting stronger.I would recommend PCB to held the series in England where they can possibly earn higher revenue in comparison to Sharjah or Malaysia etc.........

  • POSTED BY u0jh on | January 26, 2009, 13:33 GMT

    Bombs went off in London but Australia's 2005 tour went on, in India last year England returned.

    Why the double standards when it comes to Pakistan? Especially from writers like yourself who are constantly building the case for teams not to tour Pakistan? Your double standards and bias is not what cricinfo readers need to see, and sadly cricinfo will lose it's following if such reporting continues.

  • POSTED BY ShaanAgha1 on | January 26, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    Pakistan should play in UAE as their home away from home venue