PCB sees India as potential hosts for Australia series
Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, has hinted at asking India to host a limited-overs series between Pakistan and Australia later this year. Pakistan are seeking a venue for the series after Sri Lanka's refusal to stage it.
Ashraf, who has been invited by the BCCI to watch the IPL final in Chennai on Sunday, said he will discuss the idea with the Indian board officials, but maintained the main agenda would be to revive bilateral cricketing ties between India and Pakistan.
The other possible venues for the series are Malaysia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The series was scheduled to comprise five one-dayers and three T20Is to help the sides prepare for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, which begins on September 18.
"It isn't a bad idea (considering India) but a good choice to maintain the healthy relationship with them (India), but let us see the mood there," Ashraf told ESPNcricinfo. "But our primary purpose is to revive ties with them. However, in the meantime we have three options under consideration to host our series."
Ashraf was optimistic about a healthy dialogue with the BCCI, following India's decision to invite Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 champions, Sialkot Stallions, to participate in the Champions League Twenty20 later this year, in India.
"We are ready to play them and I can see that they [India] are also positive and gradually the ice is melting," Ashraf said.
The UAE, which has hosted most of Pakistan's home series, was doubtful due to the hot weather. However, Ashraf didn't rule out UAE's chances either, as it's more cost-effective for the PCB.
"We have been ruling out UAE mainly because of the month of Ramzan and the hot weather there," Ashraf said. "But we can counter that by playing day-night matches."
Dilawar Mani, the Emirates Cricket Board chief operating officer, confirmed that they had offered to host another series for Pakistan. "We have offered them but are yet to get a response," Mani told ESPNcricinfo. "We didn't offer them until Sri Lanka backed out. The main concern is the humidity, otherwise the temperature starts to drop after 4pm and the conditions are convenient to play."
The PCB has been planning on starting its own Twenty20 league, but Ashraf didn't sound optimistic about launching it this year. Various companies have made presentations to the board, but each company requires a minimum of six months to plan the league.
"We were hoping to have it this October but I think due time constraints we might have to push it back," Ashraf said. "However, the plan is in the pipeline and if we aren't able to get it organised this year then we have to find another window next year."
Eight companies, including Ten Sports, Nimbus and Geo TV, have already made their pitches to the PCB.
Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent