PCB and CSA to increase ties
The PCB and CSA have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding that will increase cricketing ties between the two countries. Pakistan will tour South Africa later this month, filling a void left by India's truncated visit, and the boards have now signalled their intention to cooperate further after a meeting between Najam Sethi, the interim PCB chairman, and the CSA chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, in Abu Dhabi.
The arrangement could see more Pakistani players taking part in South Africa's domestic competitions. Sethi said that it was time for the PCB "to stand with CSA", while Lorgat welcomed Pakistan's decision to come to South Africa for three ODIs and two T20s in November, following the ongoing meeting between the two teams in the UAE.
"[The] ideal thing would be for us is to play a series at home but unfortunately for various reasons that is not possible," Sethi said. "It's important for our players at the national and Under-19 levels to play internationally and I am very keen to support that, so when the opportunity came along, although it's a tight time frame, it was time for us to stand with CSA. We don't end up making too much money but we don't lose anything and our boys get to play South Africa in South Africa, which is very exciting."
Pakistan have already toured South Africa once this year and their players could gain further experience of the conditions by turning out for the franchises. Sohail Tanvir has been a successful recruit for the Lions over the past two seasons and his international team-mates may now follow in his footsteps.
Pakistan has not hosted a series since terrorist attacks on a Sri Lanka team bus in 2009, limiting the team's game time, although they have been successful playing in the Emirates. Pakistan players have also been excluded from the IPL in that period, after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, but Sethi expressed a hope that this situation may be reversed.
"Our players will also play in South African domestic cricket and that will give them more cricket," he said. "I have talked to Lorgat, he has promised me to encourage our players to play in their local leagues. My concern is that our players should play in India in the IPL and in county cricket, we want to do that. If they let our players in the local leagues then it will give them good outing and good education."
The visit of Pakistan was hastily arranged after India cut their South Africa tour to two Tests and three ODIs. Such was CSA's desire to arrange the fixtures, it is prepared to make a financial loss. Lorgat has been a supporter of cricket in Pakistan, travelling there as a consultant to the proposed Pakistan Super League after finishing his tenure as ICC chief executive last year. He denied, however, that a tightening of relations between the two countries would stoke the ire of the BCCI.
"We are excited and happy with that great engagement with Pakistan and it's pretty obvious that it fills a gap that has risen out of a curtailed tour," Lorgat said. Asked whether the Indian board would be unhappy with the arrangement, he replied: "I don't see why it should, Pakistan was available and it's a bilateral arrangement between the two and we are simply delighted that we can get Pakistan to South Africa."