The UAE will continue to remain the ‘home’ of Pakistan cricket in the near future after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) arrived at an agreement.
UAE has been hosting Pakistan’s home matches since 2009 when a terrorist attack on the touring Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore left six players injured. Following that major incident, international cricket at Pakistan had come to a standstill with teams refusing to tour the country in light of the worsening security apparatus.
Pakistan has continued to hold its international home matches at Abu Dhabi and Dubai since then as well as the Pakistan Super League (PSL). While the majority of Pakistan’s home matches have continued to be held in the UAE, international cricket has been returning to Pakistan in a big way in recent times.
After the ICC World XI visited Lahore for a three-match T20I series last year, more international sides have slowly followed suit. Sri Lanka played a one-off T20I in Lahore in 2017 while the West Indies toured the country for a three-match series earlier this year.
The PSL too, has seen some big clashes take place back home in Pakistan in the past two editions. While the inaugural edition in 2016 was held completely in the UAE, the finals of the 2017 edition was specially staged at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore with several international stars making the trip.
In the last edition of the PSL, all the knock-out clashes were held back in Pakistan with the National Stadium in Karachi hosting the final. The PCB’s ultimate aim is to obviously bring back international cricket to Pakistan in its entirety, however, the UAE has continued to serve as a stop-gap measure.
In recent times, there has been friction between the two boards after the Afghanistan Premier League was announced to be held in the UAE in October at the same time as Pakistan’s home series against Australia and New Zealand.
With the rise of T10 and T20 leagues being held in the UAE, there had been uncertainty over whether the country will accommodate Pakistan’s busy international calendar completely. With this in mind, PCB chief Najam Sethi had also started exploring alternative options to the UAE with Malaysia being touted as a possible home venue. The PCB supremo had paid a visit to the South East Asian country too recently to inspect the facilities at hand.
Those doubts were dispelled on Tuesday when the two bodies reached an agreement in which the UAE will host Pakistan matches at a reduced cost.
“The PCB and ECB (Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) have held fruitful discussions on matters of mutual interest,” a joint statement from the two cricketing bodies read.
“The ECB has committed to a significant reduction of the costs to Pakistan Cricket Board of holding tournaments with immediate effect,” the statement went on to add.
According to the new agreement, the UAE governing body will not host any other concurrent leagues in the country during Pakistan’s international matches and the PSL.
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