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Pakistan to continue playing in UAE as deal with Emirates Board struck

The third T20I in progress at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium Getty Images

A potential souring of one of the most incident-free relationships in world cricket appears to have been staved off for now, with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) reaching an agreement that will see Pakistan continue playing its home matches in the UAE.

The dispute originally started with a potential clash of matches after it was announced the Afghanistan Premier League would be played in October, clashing with Pakistan's home series against Australia and New Zealand. However, the ECB confirmed that it would not host any league during a Pakistan bilateral series or the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

After discussions between the two boards, a statement was released saying the UAE would continue to play host to Pakistani cricket. In addition, the ECB committed to "a significant reduction" in the costs the PCB would incur in hosting cricket in the UAE. This is expected to include, among other things, venue hiring costs, security costs, sharing of gate receipts and catering.

Earlier this month, the ECB had announced it would partner a T20 cricket league in the UAE, a development the PCB was unhappy with. The PCB wanted the ECB to keep the winter window reserved exclusively for Pakistan. An agreement appears to have been struck, with that proposed T20 league - as well as the T10 league, which had its inaugural edition last year - to be played between December 10 and January 10.

There are no scheduled Pakistan fixtures in that time slot. However, despite this resolution, the PCB has already decided none of its contracted players will be made available for any of these leagues. Last year, after a bitter dispute between the PCB and some PSL franchises, the PCB agreed to allow contracted players to take part in the four-day T10 league in December.

It is understood that the ECB agreeing to not hosting any league concurrently with Pakistan's international series or the PSL was of particular important to the PCB, who worried about the devaluation of their product if several other leagues were ongoing in the UAE at the same time. The PCB had also demanded that there should be a sizeable gap between the ECB's T20 league and the PSL to avoid hampering commercial rights.