Pakistan's future

Yorkshire offer Pakistan 'second home'

Andrew Miller

May 15, 2009

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

A partisan crowd at Lahore, Pakistan v England, 3rd Test, Lahore, December 1, 2005
Could this be the scene at Headingley next year? © AFP
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Yorkshire's chief executive, Stewart Regan, has welcomed the prospect of Pakistan taking on Australia in England next summer, and believes that if Headingley was able to secure one of the two Tests that have been proposed in the PCB's draft itinerary, the match would attract far more interest than the England Test against Bangladesh that is currently on Yorkshire's agenda for 2010.

The Bangladesh tour, which has yet to be confirmed by the ECB, is scheduled to take place in May and June next summer. But having witnessed the difficulty that Durham has faced this week in attracting a crowd to the ongoing Test between England and West Indies, Regan is not optimistic about the level of interest for such a low-key series.

"As with football and rugby, it all depends on the quality of the opposition," Regan told Cricinfo. "If you are hosting the Ashes, as we are fortunate enough to be doing this summer, then you'll never have any problems filling games, but if it is a lesser opponent - and I mean no disrespect to Bangladesh - then you are going to have difficulty in selling out.

"But Pakistan against Australia would be very special," he added. "They are two of the leading cricket nations around the world, and we believe that of all of the venues in England, we could probably sell that match out or come very close to it, because of the huge level of interest in Yorkshire."

As a cricket club, Yorkshire was infamously slow to embrace their Asian community, but they have made up for that in recent years, with the emergence of the young legspinner and England prospect, Adil Rashid, a testament to their new-found attitude.

"In the last two seasons we've strengthened our relations with the Pakistani community enormously," said Regan. "We had Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan here as overseas players in 2007, while Bradford - and West Yorkshire generally - has the second-largest Pakistani population outside of London. It would be a great honour to stage a Pakistan Test in the north of England. Of all the places to stage such a series, Yorkshire would be top of the list."

The Pakistan team has been in exile ever since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus during the Lahore Test in March, which claimed the lives of eight security personnel. The team recently concluded an ODI series against Australia in Dubai, but the prospect of playing in a traditional cricket-loving nation such as England is of great interest to the PCB. "I think England is an almost perfect option," Ehsan Mani, the former ICC president and PCB advisor, told Cricinfo.

Regan agrees. "We put our hat in the ring about six months ago, given the troubles in Mumbai and Lahore," he said. "If there is the opportunity to stage a neutral Test, then Headingley we feel would be a great venue because of the huge Asian demographic and the passionate cricket following in Yorkshire. We are the biggest county in the country, and we feel we could put on a great event, and make the Pakistan players feel that this is their second home.

"When we've hosted Pakistan matches in the past, we've seen a huge level of support for the team, with Pakistan flags all over the county," he added. "Many second and even third-generation Pakistanis support the team even though they live in England. This prospect is unique and very exciting."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by gul_khan on (May 17, 2009, 6:21 GMT)

@yorvik...right on the button. its a wonderful idea...though i do feel pakistan wouldn't put up much of a contest against australia. but it's the tv companies that will have the main say. pakistan's host broadcaster will say that they have the tv rights to all pakistan home series, sky sports will say that they have the tv rights to cricket in this country and the ECB will want a substantial cut for hosting the two countries.

unfortunately/fortunately* (delete as u feel necessary*)cricket is now a business and money matters are the number one concern for all the boards

Posted by aamir_naqshbandi on (May 17, 2009, 3:16 GMT)

This really is a great news that two giants of world cricket would meet in England next summer.With the huge Pakistani population in England, Pakistan would have something to cheer for.Being a huge Pakistan fan i would love to see Pakistan beating the World Champions.

Posted by tomjs100 on (May 16, 2009, 10:53 GMT)

Brilliant news. Things were looking very bad for Pakistan cricket; but a test and ODI series against England and Australia? Fabulous. Headingly is a nice ground too, especially following that £20m refit. Good call on venue for one of the tests. No doubt Lords will host the other; visiting sides always love playing there.

Posted by sap1979 on (May 16, 2009, 8:45 GMT)

don't get so excited. See the last 2 comments before going ga ga over the generosity of the english. As a neutral observer from the last 2 comments looks like it is more about a clash of 2 faiths (radical anglican vs radical islam) than cricket.

Posted by vikas_sarangal on (May 16, 2009, 7:57 GMT)

Good to know that pakistan will finally get to play some test cricket. It's been long time since they have played the longer version of the game(though they played against Sri Lanka which ended up in a unfortunate manner). I think pakistan team is a good opponents and can give australians tough challenge. Good to see England coming forward to help out pakistan in bad times. I hope the conditions in pakistan will improve soon in few years and teams will start touring there.

Posted by Javed_Munir_Dar on (May 16, 2009, 6:46 GMT)

It would be great experience to see two best team at Yorkshire, we are really anxious to see that dream in reality, good luck

Posted by mayurbaruah on (May 16, 2009, 3:44 GMT)

The beautiful game of CRICKET never needed a second home but guess with some people gunning for blood and their own glory, cricket must surely be shifted to a nation where cricket is on the heads of the people minus blood and Yorkshire perfectly suits the needs of Pakistan, nad hey what a series it would be, PAKISTAN up against the Kangaros...Wow..!! TEST CRICKET IS HERE TO STAY...Dont worry ICC

Posted by yasir-nisar on (May 15, 2009, 23:07 GMT)

it sounds good hope the austrailians will have no problem playing in england as they always having in asia and hope they will not raise questions about the security in ENGLAND Auses are you ready to play are we expect some more concerns over the climate food etc etc.........

Posted by yorvik on (May 15, 2009, 21:13 GMT)

How will the tv coverage work and how will the games fit around the seven tests England will be playing next summer? I assume Yorkshire would have an extra game or two at Scarborough?

I would love to see it happen and if all sides can agree with the details it would create a great deal of interest the world over. Im sure both Pakistan and Australia could be given warm up games against the counties so much better acclimatisation than in the UAE or anywhere else. The biggest problem may be getting the various tv companies with their conflicting contracts and interests to allow it to happen.

Posted by Taiwo on (May 15, 2009, 20:03 GMT)

Hope the resp. Cricket boards can work out the details. Pakistan v/s Australia in England is better than Pak v/s Aus in U.A.E....

Would you welcome a Pakistan home Test in England?
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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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