PCB in talks with Sri Lanka for two Tests in Pakistan

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KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is reportedly in talks with Sri Lanka to host them on home soil for a two-match Test series this year, as part of the ICC’s inaugural edition of World Test championship. According to media reports, there is a likelihood that Sri Lanka could soon agree to send their team to play the two Tests in Pakistan, though nothing is official yet. Once the Sri Lankan Cricket Board gives its consent, then the PCB will announce the schedule of the two Tests. The Test matches will be played in Karachi and Lahore. The inaugural ICC World Test Championship will begin in July this year with the final in June 2021. The championship will feature nine of the 12 Test playing nations, not including Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe. Pakistan last hosted a Test match on home soil back in 2009. It was on March 3, 2009 when Sri Lanka’s team bus, taking the players to the Gaddafi Stadium for a Test against Pakistan, was hit by bullets and grenades in an attack by armed militants.

Eight police and bystanders were killed, with six others wounded in the incident. It was six years until an international team visited again, with Pakistan forced to play the majority of their home games in the United Arab Emirates – a situation that continues to this day. Minnows Zimbabwe were the first to venture into Pakistan after the attack, playing two T20 and three one-day internationals in 2015.

Under heavy security, Sri Lanka made an emotional return to the Gaddafi Stadium for a one-off T20 international in October 2017. The West Indies also played three T20 internationals in Karachi last April. In recent years, Pakistan has hosted several matches including the final and some matches of the second, third and fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League. Last month, ICC chief executive David Richardson said PSL matches in Pakistan were a great step towards bringing international cricket back to the country. “The perception outside of Pakistan was that it was quite a dangerous place to visit in the past and that perception slowly but surely has been changed through the good work that has been done,” the outgoing ICC chief highlighted, adding that so many foreign players coming to play in Pakistan was indicative of that.

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