After successfully hosting the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to take a step forward and host a Test match on their homesoil. PCB announced Rawalpindi and Karachi as venues to host Sri Lanka in December as chances of Pakistan hosting its first Test series in 10 years have improved after discussions with the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board. PCB has sent an itinerary for the two Tests of the ICC World Test Championship to the Sri Lankan board. The first Test will be held in Rawalpindi from December 11 to 15 while Karachi will host the second Test from December 19-23.
Since March, 2009 when the Sri Lankan team was attacked by militants in Lahore, no team has toured Pakistan for a Test series. The PCB has scheduled no practice or side matches for the touring side. A close source said that talks are going on between the two boards and the chances of Sri Lanka coming over for the short series are bright.
Comments by the President of the Sri Lankan cricket board after he returned home from the limited-overs cricket tour of Pakistan had dampened the spirits of the PCB and Pakistani supporters.
Shammi de Silva had noted after his team’s successful 14-days tour of Karachi and Lahore that the security was at times suffocating and they got fed-up being confined to their hotel rooms after only three days. The PCB then clarified that it had given state-level security to the visiting side on the request of their Board and it had still offered the visiting players and officials to take them to play golf, shopping and dinners.
The source said that with the proposed itinerary the PCB has also sent its complete security plan and the arrangements it will make for the Sri Lankan players.
At least 10 top Sri Lankan players pulled out of the tour to Pakistan in September to play three ODIs and three T20 matches due to security concerns from their families.
The Sri Lankan side despite missing some key players including their regular ODI and T20 captains still managed to whitewash Pakistan in the T20 series in Lahore.
The source said that the Sri Lankan sports minister and some board officials had assured the PCB they would arrange briefings from the players who played in Pakistan and try to get the main players to also be part of the Test squad for the two matches in December.
“If the Sri Lankans come for Tests then we are confident that Bangladesh will also agree to send its team for the two matches and T20 games in January,” a PCB official said.
Pakistan is presently hosting the Bangladesh women’s team and the Bangladesh under-16 junior side in Lahore and believes these visits will lead the Bangladesh Cricket Board to take positive decisions.