Pakistan news

Pakistan sound out SL over playing at home

Osman Samiuddin

May 21, 2011

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A

A shattered pane of the Sri Lankan team bus , Lahore, March 3, 2009
The Sri Lanka team bus was shot at during their tour of Pakistan in March 2009 © AFP

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

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Posted by fk2000 on (May 24, 2011, 17:40 GMT)

is the PCB delusional? why would any international team want to come to Pakistan right now? from the common citizen to the "highly secured" naval bases, there is no security or law and order. why invite sri lanka to play in pakistan when nothing good can come out of it. even if a tour goes well, it will not convince anyone else to come to pakistan. if something goes wrong, then international matches will be banned forever. the PCB's plans to bring cricket back to Pakistan can't exist in a bubble. they will go hand in hand with the security situation in pakistan. for now, Pakistan should play their home matches in UAE or maybe SL or BD. I would say England too but i'm sure they love our behavior from last time we were invited. time to be realistic.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (May 24, 2011, 5:07 GMT)

Players are not robots. They have fear in mind. In such case they cannot play natural game. No need to blame others for the situation in own country. First improve security and then ask for tour.

Posted by beeran on (May 23, 2011, 16:12 GMT)

quite possible.shedule all the matches in a single location(say gadhafi stadium) and arrange the accomadation of players in site so that security cover will be foolproof.try to arrange a tri series involving afghanistan.take adequate care to prevent mischief makers around or from east!

Posted by Baundele on (May 23, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

@pkXI, it is not about hating or blaming it is about facts and the fact is Sri lankan cricketers were shot last time they visited pakistan. Whoever be the responsible is secondary, the pakistan govt could not provide the security. As long as others want to help pakistan, they have to help themselves first. Blaming india or al-qaeda does not help.

Posted by dsig3 on (May 23, 2011, 14:21 GMT)

Why would anyone go there? Let them suffer in isolation.

Posted by mso797 on (May 23, 2011, 14:01 GMT)

i hate 2 say this but we can't put the matches in karachi or lahore i think we should use faislabad islamibad or somthin as east as possible away from all the chaos

Posted by pkXI on (May 23, 2011, 14:00 GMT)

"I always feel the game should continue but to accuse Pakistan of cheating brings tensions to the fore. This kind of decision is potentially inflammatory. I was torn between my principles and a desire to help the side." - Bob Woolmer Why do people hate Pakistanis and think they are always up to something against others? These attacks are done by Taliban and Al Qaeda who seek to destroy everything. Pakistan's reputation has gone down because of what terrorists do. In the future please don't go against Pakistanis,Muslims,etc. just because idiotic terrorists attacked. The Sri Lankan team. If Afghanistan, a country who's government blames Pakistan for everything like Indians do, have the courage to play there, than why can't other teams come?

Posted by evenflow_1990 on (May 23, 2011, 12:17 GMT)

on the condition that they actually provide security this time ...

Posted by budhajeewa on (May 23, 2011, 10:01 GMT)

Pakistan should not take the risk of inviting others to play in Pakistan. Although it'll help Pakistan Cricket if succeeded, should there be another attack on players from other countries, that will be very very bad for Pakistan Cricket.

The only thing they can do is playing either in UAE or SL, until things get better.

Posted by Ronsars on (May 23, 2011, 5:03 GMT)

Inspite of being an Indian i still feel International Cricket should return to Pakistan.The incident which happened in 2009 was highly unfortunate & it would be better if SL be the first nation to tour Pak now...Who knows later we can see Ind-Pak tests in Pak.Good luck both our neighbours.Hope SLC accepts PCB offer..Keeping my fingers crossed

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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