Pakistan-Australia series may be held in EnglandMarch 4th, 2009 - 3:00 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, March 4 (IANS) The huge expatriate population in Britain has encouraged Pakistan to explore possibilities of playing their next year’s Test series against Australia in England.
Confirming that Cricket Australia (CA) had been discussing the possibility of playing Pakistan at a neutral venue, its spokesman Peter Young said the talks were initiated weeks before Tuesday’s Lahore terror attack.
“Pakistan has accepted for some time that we aren’t able to visit because of the safety and security concerns in that nation,” Young was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
Britain’s sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has said in the wake of the Lahore attack that England could act as a temporary home for the Pakistan team.
Pakistan has started the discussion about playing three Test matches at neutral venues in England in 2010.
Young said one of the strong attractions of England as a venue is that the north of the country has a strong expatriate Pakistan population.
“It’s a work in progress, the PCB is responsible for coming up with the arrangements, but in principle we’ve been comfortable and (we’re) talking with them. But it is very early days,” he said.
“One of the downsides to neutral venues is quite often you don’t get people turning up at the stadium - because wherever you are, the locals don’t have a home-team interest,” he said.
“But part of the theory is that there are a significant number of expatriate Pakistanis who, with appropriate marketing, might be encouraged to attend these games. Pakistan would still have kind-of a de facto home crowd advantage.”
Pakistan is due to “host” Australia for five one dayers and a Twenty20 late next month in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. CA is sending a pre-inspection tour party to the venues this week to look at safety and security, among other factors.