Daily Briefs

Photo : The News

23 December 2019

Pakistan is confident of hosting test cricket; other teams are yet to respond

It is safe to play in Pakistan, says Sri Lanka’s Cricket Captain

PR Daily Brief | D. Suba Chandran

In the news

Dimuth Karunaratne, the captain of Sri Lankan cricket team, that played a test series in Pakistan commented on the situation to play matches: “…it is really safe here and that all the other countries playing cricket — they can come and play Tests, T20s or one-dayers — it is safe to play in Pakistan.”


Issues in the background

Ever since 2009, Pakistan could not host a single series of cricket matches within the country. Pakistan’s bilateral matches with Australia, England, West Indies and South Africa were played in Sharjah and other Gulf countries.

The security situation within was the primary reason for Pakistan to host the cricket matches abroad. There were two primary issues – first, the confidence within Pakistan to host international matches. And second, the confidence on Pakistan by rest of the cricket playing countries.

Today, Pakistan is confident of hosting bilateral cricket matches. However, the other countries are still hesitant to visit Pakistan for a full series. Though Sri Lanka has played the first test series in the last ten years, other countries are apprehensive citing security reasons. For example, Bangladesh, which is to visit Pakistan shortly to play test matches and T-20s – is willing to play the shorter versions in Pakistan, but the longer version – the test matches – the former would like to shift to a neutral venue.

While Pakistan thinks they are ready to host test matches, the rest of cricket playing countries are yet to get ready. Misbah ul Haq, the coach of Pakistan cricket team recently said: “There is no excuse at this stage and making security a pretext is lame, because when international tours are happening, teams [are] coming and playing here, even you are agreeing to play T20 and refusing Test is something beyond my understanding.”

The others perhaps don’t see it as a lame pretext, as Misbah would see fit.

Even Pakistan’s own T-20 cricket – Pakistan Super League had difficulties in playing the league matches. Most of the PSL matches were played in the Gulf. The final rounds of the PSL matches could be hosted early this year in Karachi and Lahore.

Pakistan may first want to organize a PSL fixture completely within. There are players who are a part of the PSL franchises, were willing to play the matches in the Gulf, but hesitant to play in any of the Pakistani cities – whether Lahore or Karachi.

Sri Lanka was the first team to visit Pakistan in the last ten years. It played two test matches in December 2019 – the first one in Rawalpindi and the second one in Karachi. Rain played the spoilsport in the first match; the second match was won by Pakistan, thereby winning the series.

Ironically, the last team to play a full test series in Pakistan was Sri Lanka. In March 2009, there was a terrorist attack on the bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. The attack, unfortunately, killed eight people then.

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