Board set to send formal proposal March 24, 2008

Pakistan want to host South Africa for Test series

Cricinfo staff

Will South Africa agree to play a series in Pakistan in October? © Getty Images

The Pakistan board is set to send a formal proposal to the South Africa board for a three-Test match series to be played after the Champions Trophy in September, as it continues its push to fill up an empty international calendar. After Australia withdrew from their tour of Pakistan for March-April, the PCB has convinced Bangladesh to play a five-match ODI series and has a host of other commitments in the pipeline, but still a hole remains in their Future Tours Programme (FTP), especially with regards to Test matches.

"We have had a verbal communication with them [South Africa] over a possible Test series and their response is encouraging," Shafqat Naghmi, PCB's Chief Operating Officer, told The News. The proposed series will be an arrangement outside the FTP.

"Our first priority is to host the South Africans for the proposed Test series in October but if because of any reason they cannot visit then we will be willing to send our team to South Africa."

Naghmi said that the PCB scanned the FTP and tour commitments of the top Test-playing nations and found that South Africa were the only leading side that had a window big enough in their FTP to fit in a Test series. According to the FTP South Africa finish a tour of England in September, visit Pakistan for the Champions Trophy in the same month and are scheduled to host Bangladesh in November. South Africa toured Pakistan in October 2007, winning both the Test and ODI series.

Australia's pull out, due to security fears, meant Pakistan were left with only three Tests (against India) in 2008. Australia were scheduled to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 International. The PCB could not persuade India to visit for a one-day series and their plan to host Sri Lanka is likely to be jeopardised by the Indian Premier League.