PCB reluctant to host "home" series in UAE
Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is hoping for the security situation in the country to improve over the next 10 months, as it is reluctant to host three successive "home" series against Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe in the United Arab Emirates.
"The three back-to-back home series will be played from October 2014 to early February 2015 before the World Cup and if the security situation does not change or improve over the next 10 months then we will have to host them in the UAE," PCB`s senior official Subhan Ahmad said.
Pakistan has not hosted a series at home since 2009 when in March militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. Since then all Test playing nations have refused to tour Pakistan for security reasons and the PCB has been forced to host their "home" matches in the UAE.
Currently also the PCB is hosting Sri Lanka for a full series in the UAE. "We prefer to hold the matches in the UAE because it is a cost friendly neutral venue for us and we have a large concentration of Asians, including Pakistanis in the emirate states," he said.
Ahmad admitted that the board`s profits had dropped from the "home" series held at neutral venues since 2009. "Before the World Cup in 2015 we have these three series (against Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe) and obviously we have been pleading with the other boards also to support us in these demanding times," Ahmad added.
Pakistan will play two Tests and three One-day Internationals against Australia, three Tests and five ODIs against New Zealand and two Tests and three One-dayers against Zimbabwe in a packed season.
"We are also planning to send our team in advance to Australia to prepare for the World Cup as they would have played all their cricket before the tournament in totally different conditions," he said. Ahmad said the PCB was hoping that the security situation would improve in Pakistan so that it could make a strong case for a revival of international cricket in the country.
"People perhaps don`t realise how difficult it is for us that includes the board and players to not be able to have a series at home. We are fortunate that cricket is still flourishing in Pakistan as a top sport," he said.
Ahmad revealed that because of the circumstances the board also lost revenues in broadcasting deals. "We lose some revenues when we have to play our home matches at neutral venues."
The Pakistan team will be free of any international commitments after the World T20 ends in Bangladesh in April till October. And Ahmad hoped that the Pakistani players get a chance to play in the Indian Premier League and Champions League this time around.
"We are sensing this time our players will be invited to the IPL since our teams have now gone twice to the Champions League," he said.
The acting Chairman of the board, Najam Sethi also said in Dubai that Pakistan were prepared to go to India if they didn`t want to play in Pakistan because of the situation. Sethi told reporters that Pakistan was keen on playing India to boost its financial position and expressed hope that scenario would improve after the elections in India.
"India owe us two home series as per the FTP, so we are trying for that. I think BCCI is waiting for their elections. Our Prime Minister wants their Prime Minister to tour Pakistan and if he comes then we can raise the matter of cricket," Sethi, a former chief minister of Punjab, said.