Pakistan news May 3, 2012

PCB identifies Mirpur as potential international venue

The PCB has taken charge of the Quaid-e-Azam stadium in Mirpur and has identified it as a potential venue for international cricket. Mirpur is the largest town in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), a self-governing state under Pakistani control to the north-east of Punjab, and is known as 'Little Britain' because of the large immigrant population in England from this area.

The region's cricket coordinator Fazal-ur-Rehman told ESPNcricinfo that the AJK sports development authority had handed over the stadium's rights to the PCB on Monday. "The stadium has all the basic requirements for cricket but the PCB was keen to develop it and raise it to international standards," Rehman said. "This part of the region is fine from the security point of view."

Pakistan currently has 25 first-class venues and four major Test venues. The Mirpur stadium has a capacity of 16,000 and has hosted eight first-class matches from 2005 to 2009; it has also hosted several Under-19 international matches against Australia in 2007.

"It is a potential venue with a good law and order situation," Intikhab Alam, the PCB's director of international cricket, said. "We have scrutinised various venues around the country and this venue has all the features to be an internationally recognised stadium. There are things that obviously have to be improved and the PCB will ensure all the required facilities for international fixtures. The city has quality logistic facilities, including hotels."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent