Pakistan unveils hectic home season

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) unveiled a hectic international home season that includes hosting South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia.

South Africa arrive first and are scheduled to play two Tests and five ODIs between September 26 and October 29. Pakistan then tour India from November 2 to December 13 for three Tests and five ODIs.

Zimbabwe are scheduled to arrive for a series of five one-day internationals in January and February next year while world champions Australia tour from March 10 to April 27, 2008. Soon after, Pakistan will also host the Asia Cup.

The U-19 and A teams are likely to be as busy. Pakistan U-19 travel to England this July, while their Australian and Bangladeshi counterparts are expected to tour Pakistan in October and November. Pakistan then return to Bangladesh before taking part in the U-19 World Cup in Malaysia in February. The Australia A team also tours Pakistan in September.

Meanwhile, the PCB is confident that South Africa will have no problems playing a Test in Karachi in October.

"We have sent a tentative itinerary to the South Africans which includes Karachi as a venue for one of the two Tests,"

Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer, told the reporter. The city is in line to hold an ODI as well.

Naghmi added that thus far, South African officials had not raised any objections though the final itinerary will only be announced after full approval from board officials. He also added that it is unlikely South Africa will send officials to inspect security arrangements before the tour. "We have assured them that the South African cricketers will get foolproof security cover."

Karachi has missed out on international matches in the recent past due to security concerns. After the events of September 11, 2001 and in particular, May 14, 2002, when a bomb blast outside the visiting New Zealand team's hotel killed 14 people, Australia, West Indies, South Africa, India and England have all refused to play Tests in the port city.

The trend was broken last year when England played an ODI there and India stayed for a Test.

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