Pakistan news February 11, 2010

USA may be new venue for Pakistan matches

Cricinfo staff

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is eyeing the possibility of playing international matches in the USA. PCB chairman Ijaz Butt and chief operating officer Wasim Bari met officials from the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) led by CEO Don Lockerbie on the sidelines of an ICC meeting on Wednesday where they held discussions

"Ijaz Butt and Wasim Bari held a meeting with USACA officials to discuss organising a match series in the USA in 2010," said a PCB media release. "The matches will feature the defending World Twenty20 champions. While the two boards are still finalising the dates and the types of match competitions- assurances were made by both parties that a long-term agreement to play in the USA will begin with a match series later in 2010."

The dual benefits which may result from such a move include getting a foothold in the game's expanding market in the USA, as well as boosting Pakistan's chances of staging international cricket in the near future, given the fragile security situation in the country. The officials also hoped a Twenty20 series will attract huge interest from Pakistanis and Indians living in the USA, as well as a global audience.

It has been a busy couple of days in Dubai for Lockerbie who is clearly keen to push the USA's place on the world stage after he also held meetings with Lailt Modi, the IPL commissioner, over the possibility of bring matches to the USA.

Butt said the Pakistan series would help cricket grow in the country. "Pakistan playing as a Full Member in the USA is in line with the ICC policy to grow the sport in countries such as the USA and as the negotiations continue we hope a series will be played later this year," Butt said.

The board's concept of having neutral venues for 'home' matches is not new. While Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates have hosted series involving Pakistan previously, the Test series against Australia scheduled later this year will be played in England.

Pakistan's last 'home' series on foreign soil was against New Zealand in the UAE. While they lost the ODI series 1-2, they won both the Twenty20 internationals that followed.