In a recent announcement, the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed hosting Team Sri Lanka in October, and Team West Indies in November for the much coveted T20 series. Apart from the scheduled T20 matches, the season may also comprise of a World XI series with the ICC World XI team in Lahore.
It will be after a spell of close to 9 years that the Pakistan cricket fans will finally be able to watch international cricket matches on their home ground. As is known, due to the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in the year 2009, all test nations have refrained from touring the country for any bilateral series. It was only Zimbabwe that visited the country for an ODI series in the year 2015.
The board admitted that convincing the Sri Lankan Cricket board to send the team to Lahore, was no easy task. The board also expressed its gratitude towards the Sri Lankan team’s acceptance of the request and agreed that it is a very courageous step on the team’s part. The PCB is leaving no stone unturned to welcome the team in for the T20 matches scheduled to be played in the month of October.
The statement released by the board, also suggested that PCB is in talks with Cricket West Indies, for the T20 matches, slated to be played in Lahore.
As far as the World XI series is concerned, it will be subject to the agreement on the end of the team members to visit Pakistan. To help matters, the Pakistan Government has promised a presidential-level security to the World XI Team throughout the week of their visit. It must be noted that this squad comprises of players from all the top test-playing nations.
With Andy Flower as its coach, the team will include South African players Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel and Faf du Plessis, along with two Australian players. While players from West Indies, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand have also received clearance for playing in the team, the BCCI is yet to give clearance to any Indian player in this regard.
The statement also clearly stated the fact, that no international team was willing to play matches at any other venue than Lahore, for the reasons of security. To this end, the board indicated its inclination towards organising an international series in Karachi, sometime in the beginning of the year 2018.
It was clear from the announcement that the board understands that the process of bringing back International Cricket to Pakistan’s soil will be a fairly gradual process. Nonetheless, this upcoming season will be full of hope and opportunities, both, from the PCB as well as the international cricket arena as a whole.