Pakistan to host South Africa, Sri Lanka in UAE
Karachi: Security concerns have again forced the Pakistan Cricket Board to shift its coming home series against South Africa and Sri Lanka to neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates.
A senior official of the PCB on Tuesday said that due to the fragile law and order situation in the country the board had decided to host the series in the UAE.
He confirmed that South Africa had already declined to tour Pakistan because of security concerns while the PCB itself didn`t bother to push the Sri Lankans to play in the country.
"Given the situation it would have been a useless exercise to try to convince the Sri Lankans to play in Pakistan," the official said.
Interestingly, the interim chairman of the PCB, Najam Sethi after taking charge on Sunday made it clear that while his priority was to see international cricket`s return to Pakistan, this could not be possible until the law and order situation improved in the country.
"Unless the law and order situation improves I don`t think we can get foreign teams to play in Pakistan. Although we will continue our efforts for an early restoration of international cricket in Pakistan," he said.
On Sunday militants attacked and shot dead atleast nine foreign tourists in the scenic mountainous region of Nanga Parbat in the northern areas of Pakistan, the first such deadly attack on foreign tourists.
The security situation has kept foreign teams away from playing in Pakistan since 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in which six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed and members of the touring side were wounded.
The official said that due to shortage of time the PCB had decided not to waste time and confirmed the upcoming series against South Africa and Sri Lanka in the UAE.
"We have been playing our home series mostly in the UAE since 2009 and the conditions also suit us. We will play South Africa in September-October and then Sri Lanka in November-December at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi," he said.
Pakistan is due to play three Tests, five ODIs and a T20 match against South Africa followed by the series against Sri Lanka featuring similar number of games.
"We want to start making preparations now because these are two very important series for us and we want to make them profitable ventures," the PCB official said.