Pakistan news July 8, 2014

Pakistan get more Tests, but shorter series with India

Pakistan are likely to play 77 Tests till January 2023 and will see an increase in the volume of cricket with arch-rivals India as per the latest version of FTP which has been seen by ESPNcricinfo. Despite the increase in numbers, however, each of the three home series with India is likely to feature only two Tests, downgrading the marquee contests.

Apart from the series in 1999 in India, the two teams have historically always competed in at least a series of three Tests and the new proposal is likely to dampen the interest. In recent years, there has been a reduction of the matches between the two teams due to a sensitive political environment. Although the series have been drafted in the new FTP and both the boards have agreed, yet actual cricket will still be subject to government clearances.

Another team with whom Pakistan do not play often in the next cycle is South Africa, despite the two signing an agreement to increase cricketing ties. South Africa will only host Pakistan in December 2018 for a series of three Tests, five ODI and three T20s. Pakistan too host them just once, for a limited-over series in October 2022.

Pakistan will be playing as many as seven series with Australia in this period, with Pakistan hosting five. Australia will host Pakistan in December 2016 and 2019 for six Tests and six ODIs.

Despite a glut of Test matches, Pakistan only feature in three four-Test series. Two of them will be played in England - in 2016 and 2020 - and one in West Indies, in 2017. Against West Indies, Pakistan only play two more Tests - at home, 10 years after they last hosted them for a series.

Pakistan will also not host Bangladesh or Zimbabwe in the next cycle. They were due to host Zimbabwe this year but the series was cancelled and now Pakistan is slotted to visit Zimbabwe in the summer of 2018 - the only series in the eight-year period.

Member nations have been told to sign their bilateral agreements by the next ICC Board meeting in October in order to firmly establish that FTP is both "binding and bankable".

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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