Pakistan sound out SL over playing at home
The PCB has asked Sri Lanka Cricket "for their views" on the prospect of playing their series later this year in Pakistan instead of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka were the last team to play international cricket in Pakistan - their tour in March 2009 was cut short after terrorists attacked their team bus as it was on the way to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore for the second Test.
That attack, on the back of growing security concerns over the previous two years, brought to an end international cricket in the country, taking away the 2011 World Cup in the process.
The two sides are due to play a full Test and limited-overs series in October, scheduled in the FTP officially as a 'home' series for Pakistan. Until now the series was due to take place in Sri Lanka, but after a meeting between PCB chairman Ijaz Butt and Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik on Thursday, the government is keen on bringing international cricket back to the country.
"The government wants this [series to be held in Pakistan]," a senior PCB official told ESPNcricinfo. "We have asked SLC again to let us have their views on the issue."
The prospect of the series actually taking place in Pakistan remains a distant one. So far the government has only passed on verbal instructions to the PCB, who in turn have written to SLC. As of Saturday, when a SLC official was asked about the development or whether the board had been approached, he told ESPNcricinfo: "Not to my knowledge."
Most of Pakistan's major cities - where such a series is likely to be played - have been targeted fairly recently by terrorist attacks, within the last year in the cases of Lahore and Karachi. At the beginning of this month Osama bin Laden was killed in an operation by US forces in Abbottabad, a town not far from the country's capital Islamabad.
Pakistan have played their 'home' series since the Lahore attacks at a number of venues; a series against South Africa was arranged in the UAE. In 2009-10, they broke up a full tour of New Zealand by playing the ODIs in Abu Dhabi and the Tests in New Zealand itself. They used England as a venue for two 'home' Tests against Australia last summer. Pakistan is also, incidentally, in talks with SLC over staging their series with England over the turn of the year in Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan will actually become the first international team to play in Pakistan next week when they take on Pakistan 'A' in three 50-over games. Interestingly enough, one of the games was arranged for Abbottabad, but after the meeting between Butt and Malik the venue was switched to Islamabad.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo