Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Kevin Roberts remains hopeful of the Australian men’s team touring Pakistan in 2022 but insists that he will not be rushed into a decision.
Roberts, along with CA head of security Sean Carroll, recently returned from a short trip to Pakistan where they met with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials at Lahore.
It was the first high-level visit of the country by a CA delegation in more than a decade and Roberts has stated that “things are moving in the right direction.”
“The beauty of the timing of this visit, we wanted it to happen well before we were faced with a key decision,” Roberts told Melbourne radio station SEN.
“The purpose was really to understand the landscape, look at the plans they have in place around security and then start expressing our expectations for the safety of our players and our support staff well over two years away from when we’re due to tour.
“So that we’re not dealing with that in a pressure-cooker environment a couple of months before the tour.
“Things are heading in the right direction, but in saying that we were travelling in armoured cars and escorted by police and felt very safe over there. But certainly, that level of security is still required at this point.”
Australia are slated to play two Tests, three ODIs and as many T20s against Pakistan in 2022 with the PCB pushing for the clashes to be held on Pakistan soil. The Aussies have not toured Pakistan since all the way back in 1998 and Roberts remains hopeful that the picture can change in 2022.
“I hope so. I really hope we do for the sake of world cricket and Australia’s important relationship with Pakistan,” he replied when asked if Australia would tour Pakistan again.
“As I said to Pakistan, we share their desire for international cricket to return to their country. But we will never jeopardise the safety of our people and we will keep taking advice from experts on the way.
“We have got the next couple of years to hopefully plan for a tour in 2022 but we have just got to step that out gently, bit by bit, rather than rushing into it.”
Virat Kohli inspired India to a seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the second T20 international in the three-match series. The first game was washed out and the hosts have now taken an unbeatable 1-0 lead in the series.
Kohli scored 72 runs from 52 balls to help his side chase down 150 runs in 19 overs. His incredible display comprised of beautiful stroke-play that kept the scoreboard ticking over.
The visitors got off to a promising start with openers Reeza Hendricks and Quinton de Kock propelling them to 31 runs in less than four overs. The latter fell to Deepak Chahar after he found Washington Sundar at mid-on.
However, this did not slow De Kock down as he continued to blitz through the Indian bowling attack to reach his half-century. It took a stunning catch from Kohli to send the wicket-keeper back to the pavilion after a good knock.
Temba Bavuma kept the runs flowing steadily but the dismissal of Rassie van der Dussen at 90-3 broke the momentum and allowed India to slowly impose themselves on the opposition. Cameos from David Miller (18) and Dwaine Pretorius (10) did not suffice as the Proteas could only manage 149 runs in their 20 overs.
Like South Africa, India too lost their first wicket after the openers stepped on the gas in the first four overs. The scoreboard read 33-1 when Kohli came in to bat, with Shikhar Dhawan in good touch at the other end.
The southpaw and the skipper put on 61 runs together to provide India with the vantage point half-way through their innings. Dhawan (40) fell before reaching his half-century and Rishabh Pant (4) lost his wicket with a lazy effort.
Kohli and Shreyas Iyer (16*) teamed up to take India home without any hiccups as they reached the target with an over to spare. It was a visual treat for the fans as Kohli displayed grace and composure en route to yet another half-century.
Iyer finished things off with a beautiful straight drive against Bjorn Fortuin to hand India a 1-0 lead in the series.
After the first match was washed out, India and South Africa finally go head-to-head in Mohali for the second T20I.
Winning this encounter then means at least avoiding a series defeat which only features three matches.
India are fresh from their dominating tour of the West Indies while Quinton de Kock and his side will be eager to put their poor World Cup display in England behind them.
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