PCB proposes to host South Africa for a three-match series in October this year

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pakistani cricket officials are making efforts to line up a three-match Test series against South Africa this fall in a bid to give their Test-starved cricketers a wholesome contest against one of the best teams in the cricket world.

After chasing several Test-playing nations to fill in the blanks left in their Future Tour Programme (FTP) by Australia’s pull-out earlier this month by lining up one-day matches, Pakistan’s cricket authorities have finally started to think more sensibly.

In a year when Pakistan are guaranteed to play dozens of One-day Internationals (ODIs) and just three Tests, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been in a mad rush in recent weeks, trying to fix ODIs with any team that was willing to oblige.

But not anymore, it was learnt here on Sunday. A top Board official told ‘The News’ that that the PCB will soon be sending a formal proposal to the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) for a three-match Test series immediately after this September’s ICC Champions Trophy.

“We have had a verbal communication with them (South Africa) over a possible Test series and their response is encouraging,”
said Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s Chief Operating Officer. Naghmi said that Pakistan want to host South Africa for the Test series which will be an arrangement outside the FTP.

“Our first priority is to host the South Africans for the proposed Test series in October but if because of any reason they cannot visit then we will be willing to send our team to South Africa,”
he said.

Naghmi said that the PCB did its research before sounding out the South Africans for a Test series.
“We scanned the FTP and other tour commitments of the top Test-playing teams and found out that South Africa are the only leading side that has a window big enough in their FTP to fit in a Test series this year,”
he added.

The PCB official said that the Board has made contact with the UCBSA, realising the fact that their team might end up playing hardly any Test cricket in 2008.
“Following the postponement of the Test series against Australia, Pakistan have been just left with three Tests (against India) during the whole of this year,”
he pointed out.

Pakistan’s last Test outing was against India in Bangalore last December and if PCB’s proposed Test series against South Africa fails to materialise then they would begin their Test year in November when they host India for a three-match Test series.

Naghmi said that UCBSA officials reacted positively to the PCB proposal and have asked for a detailed offer in black and white.South Africa were the last team to tour Pakistan for Tests and ODIs last October. Under Graeme Smith, the Proteas won the two-match Test series 1-0 and the ODI series 3-2.

This January, Pakistan hosted Zimbabwe for a five-match ODI series and were scheduled to meet world champions Australia in a home series during March-April that was initially supposed to include three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 International.

But the Aussies refused to honour their FTP commitment, citing security fears and the PCB was left with the tough task of saving the home season from becoming a complete disaster.The Board tried to line up one-dayers against India and Sri Lanka but so far it has only managed to confirm a home series against lowly Bangladesh involving five ODIs and a Twenty20 game next month.

Efforts are on to confirm five one-dayers against Sri Lanka but after an initial breakthrough that came in the form of a recent promise from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman Arjuna Ranatunga, the hurriedly-planned series is likely to fall victim to the Indian Premier League (IPL).

0 Responses to "PCB proposes to host South Africa for a three-match series in October this year"

Will Pakistan Premier League gain success just like Indian Premier League ?