While Australia might have turned down a recent invitation, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani is hopeful of England touring Pakistan in the near future.
The PCB had proposed to Cricket Australia that the upcoming five-match series between the two countries be held on Pakistan soil. However, that proposal did not come to fruition with the PCB ultimately announcing UAE as the venue for the series.
Now, Mani is optimistic that England will tour Pakistan soon for the first time since 2005 when he meets the England and Cricket Board (ECB) representatives in Dubai later this month.
Pakistan are due to take on England in a home series in 2022 and the PCB chief is hopeful that the clashes will not take place in a neutral venue like the UAE.
“I expect England will be totally open discussing it further, but there’s a whole process they have to go through,” Mani told the Telegraph in a recent interview.
“When we play our next home series against England, they’ll have sufficient time to carry out their own assessment. I would never ever consider inviting someone unless it was absolutely safe for them.
“They will carry out their own assessments. We’ll talk to them about any concerns they have, if any, and how we can deal with those, before any formal invitations go out. Everyone has to be comfortable.”
International cricket has been at a standstill in Pakistan ever since the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009. Of late, though, teams have started to shun their inhibitions with West Indies and Sri Lanka among the sides to tour Pakistan over the past year or so.
The upcoming edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will also see as many as eight matches being held on Pakistan soil including the final at Karachi.
Having been appointed as the assistant coach to Justin Langer in the lead up to the 2019 ICC World Cup in England, Ricky Ponting believes Australia will be serious contenders for the global showpiece.
Australia’s failing fortunes in the ODI format have been all too evident with the side struggling in the absence of the banned Steve Smith and David Warner. Since Langer took over the coaching mantle from Darren Lehmann, the Aussies have tasted ODI series defeats against England, South Africa and India with the latter two coming on home soil.
Despite their freefall of late in the format, Ponting is confident that Australia have the tools to lift the World Cup a record sixth time.
“Absolutely (think Australia can win the World Cup). India and England are probably the two standout teams right now, but if you add David Warner and Steve Smith back into that line-up then I think that team looks as strong as any,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“I am not just saying that because I am one of the coaches, I actually said it when I wasn’t around the group.
“Conditions in England will suit our style of play … I think Australia will be the one of the main contenders for sure.”
The Aussies have managed only four victories in their last 26 ODI appearances but Ponting remains confident that the team can turn it around by the time the World Cup gets underway at the end of March.
“I actually think Australian cricket’s quite strong. Once we get Warner, Smith and Bancroft and those guys back into the fray, even looking ahead to the World Cup, I don’t think there’ll be too many better teams on paper going into the World Cup, and I’ve said that for a long time,” the Aussie icon explained.
The one-year bans handed to Smith and Warner come to an end on March 29. Australia are slated to take on Pakistan in a five-match ODI series in the UAE beginning on March 22 and it remains to be seen if the banned duo is included in the squad for those clashes.
The PCB had held on to a brief glimmer of hope of Australia touring Pakistan for the first time in 20 years after positive initial discussions between the two cricketing boards.
However, that much anticipated tour will now have to wait longer with all the five clashes scheduled to take place in the UAE. The five-match ODI series will get underway at Sharjah on March 22 before drawing to a close at Dubai on March 31.
The one-year bans handed out to the two players for their roles in the ball-tampering saga comes to an end on March 29. It is also the date of the fourth ODI between the two sides and it now remains to be seen if the pair is called up to the Australia squad for the final two ODIs.
The Pakistan Cricket Board today announced the schedule of five-match ODI series between Pakistan and Australia, which will be played in the United Arab Emirates. https://t.co/iP4slM9FHk pic.twitter.com/b5d5EsYiSW— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) February 10, 2019
“The PCB was optimistic that it will be able to convince Cricket Australia to send its side for some matches after successfully staging high-profile bilateral international series and the HBL Pakistan Super League matches in the past 18 months,” PCB international cricket director Zakir Khan said in a statement.
“But, we are disappointed for the enthusiastic and passionate cricket fans in Pakistan who will now have to wait for some more time before they can see the Australia cricket team live in action for the first time since 1998.
“However, the CA has confirmed that they will send their security expert to oversee the execution of security plans for the HBL PSL 2019 matches and bilateral series against other international sides in Pakistan, and will also speak with the ICC-recommended PCB security consultant. In the meantime, the CA have confirmed they will maintain regular contact with the ICC.”
All five ODI encounters between Pakistan and Australia will be day/night clashes.
PAKISTAN V AUSTRALIA ODI FIXTURES
March 22 – First ODI, Sharjah
March 24 – Second ODI, Sharjah
March 27 – Third ODI, Abu Dhabi
March 29 – Fourth ODI, Dubai
March 31 – Fifth ODI, Dubai