Pakistan want South Africa Test series

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pakistan is aiming for a home or away Test cricket series against South Africa in October after Australia pulled out of a tour due to security fears, the country's cricket chief said.

Pakistan are due to play only three Test series over the next two years, hosting India in December-January and then touring Sri Lanka and Australia in 2009.

Australia were due to play three Tests, five one-day matches and a Twenty20 here in March-April but the tour was postponed this month due to a wave of Islamic militant violence across Pakistan.

"The lack of Tests is worrying for us so we have negotiated with a number of countries and are hopeful to either host or tour South Africa for a Test series in October this year,"

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf told AFP.

Pakistan's Australian coach Geoff Lawson said earlier this month he was surprised at his team's lack of Test series.

"It is strange that we play only three Test series in two years but I am not responsible for the FTP (Future Tours Programme) and I don't organise the programme,"

Lawson said earlier this month.

The FTP is a programme of Tests and one-day matches to take place between ten full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) between 2001 and 2011.

Pakistan have partially filled the gap created by the Australian tour postponement by arranging a five-match one-day and one Twenty20 international series with Bangladesh.

Bangladesh arrive here on April 6 and start the one-day series with the first match in Lahore two days later.

"We are playing Bangladesh and then hope to have another five-match series with Sri Lanka before the Asia Cup in June. New Zealand and the West Indies have also shown interest to tour for a one-day series,"

said Ashraf.

"We also hope that Australia fulfil their commitment to tour us in April next year and we are negotiating on that as well."

Ashraf said he hoped either New Zealand or the West Indies would agree to tour before the ICC Champions Trophy, which Pakistan hosts from September 11-28.

Pakistan's hopes of hosting Sri Lanka soon after Bangladesh were dashed as the proposed programme (April 23-May 5) clashed with the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) which starts from April 18.

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