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January 3, 2008
The PCB is confident that the home series against Zimbabwe will go ahead as planned despite the recent political turbulence that has hit the country. There are likely to be, however, changes to the itinerary.
"The series should take place on the same dates but there is a possibility of some changes being made to the venue list," Ahsan Malik, the board's spokesperson, told reporters after a board meeting.
A board official is expected to contact the Zimbabwe board to discuss the itinerary and venues. Hyderabad has all but been taken off the list of venues to host the five-match ODI series, after the hotel the teams were scheduled to stay in was burnt down by rioters following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto last week. The Indus, the only hotel in the city considered suitable for the purpose, was set on fire last week as violence erupted through the country after Bhutto's death.
"We will not be able to host any match [of the Zimbabwe series] in Hyderabad because there is no hotel in the city where the two teams and the officials could be accommodated after the burning of the Indus," Shafqat Naghmi, PCB's chief operating officer, earlier told The News.
Naghmi said that the PCB will take a decision on a new venue for the first ODI within the next few days, adding that the match could be shifted to Karachi - which is hosting the second ODI - or Lahore, which was not on the venue list for this series.
The burning of the hotel means that Hyderabad, once a Test venue, will once again be deprived of the opportunity to host an international match. The city's Niaz Stadium last played host to an international game almost ten years ago when Pakistan clashed with India in the 1997 series. Zimbabwe are scheduled to arrive in Karachi later this month where they will play two warm-up matches prior to the ODI series.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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