Pakistan's summer Caribbean tour in doubt
Pakistan's tour of the West Indies in 2013 is in serious jeopardy, after both boards failed to find a suitable window for the tour. Pakistan were originally scheduled to play two Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20s in the Caribbean in June and July, but ESPNcricinfo understands that the tour is unlikely to go ahead. The WICB, however, maintains that negotiations are still on.*
According to the FTP, West Indies are scheduled to host Pakistan from the last week in June to the last week in July, but they planned a tri-series against India and Sri Lanka during that time. To avoid a clash, the WICB earlier had asked the PCB if their tour could be rescheduled to August. The idea, however, interfered with the Pakistan's own plan to host India and to play out the Zimbabwe series that was postponed last year.
West Indies thereafter had also scheduled their Caribbean Premier League tournament from 29 July to 26 August.
"It's a very tricky situation here as our first priority to play according to the FTP, " Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, told ESPNcricinfo. "They actually planned their tri-nation series within our window and left us with a choice to reschedule the series, however after a lengthy deliberation we failed to find a window to go ahead with it.
"Earlier there were plans to split the tour but it's not working as we want to play a full series. West Indies is an important cricket team and we have always had cordial relations with them, and hopefully we will find another window next year."
In a media release, the WICB said it was keen to honour fixtures already specified in the FTP: "The WICB views in the highest regard its ICC Future Tours Programme commitments and will fulfil all such commitments to the mutual convenience of the players and teams involved.
"Negotiations with the Pakistan Cricket Board are on-going with regard to finalising the schedule for the West Indies v Pakistan series to be held in the Caribbean in July. The WICB remains optimistic that the tour will proceed once arrangements are concluded."
The PCB was hoping to host India in August this year after a successful series in India last December. However ESPNcricinfo has learnt that India have declined, citing player rest, while Zimbabwe responded positively.
Pakistan were scheduled to tour Zimbabwe for a series of two Tests, three ODIs and two T20s from December 2012 to January 2013 but had played the series with India instead. So, having the August window open, they offered Zimbabwe the option of playing the pending series.
Last year West Indies A team's reciprocal tour (after 2010) to Pakistan also fell through as the visitors were reluctant to visit Pakistan. The idea was floated to play in the UAE but due to the excessive cost of arranging a series for A teams away from home, it was scrapped by the PCB. Pakistan last visited West Indies in 2011, drawing the Test series 1-1, winning the ODI series 3-2 and the hosts taking the only T20I.
*07.00GMT, April 9: This article has been updated after the WICB issued a release
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here