PCB to finalise venue for Aussie series soon

LAHORE - The Pakistan home series against Australia is likely to take place after Eid in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that can help Pakistan prepare for the World Twenty20 to be started in Sri Lanka in mid September, it has been learnt.Pakistan will finalise the neutral venue for the series in the current week and UAE seems the top of list besides Malaysia but due to similarity of conditions at UAE and Sri Lanka, the ECB may get hosting rights, the source added.Earlier, the PCB was reluctant to hold the series in United Arab Emirates due to Ramazanul Mubarak and scorching heat in the UAE but after receiving fresh proposal in which the Emirates Cricket Board has shown interest in hosting Pak-Australian series if the PCB decided to do away with the ODIs and instead play seven T20 matches against the Australians.Pakistan is scheduled to play a series of five ODIs and three T20 matches against Australia in August and Cricket Australia has desired and wants to play series from August 15 to prepare them for the World Twenty20 Cup to be held in Sri Lanka.According to the Emirates Cricket Board, the proposal is viable since the matches can start late and be organised after Eid which should fall around August 22. “The proposal to have a series of T20 matches is viable and we are looking at it but first of all we need to have clearance from the ICC to organise such a large number of T20 internationals,” the source revealed.He pointed out that under existing ICC rules maximum three T20 matches could be played in a bilateral series between two countries. “It is a proposal that can be explored but at the same time we are studying other alternate venues for the series including Malaysia,” he said.“We are looking at all the alternate venues and their cost effectiveness in organising the series plus the weather conditions and facilities,” he added.  Pakistan since 2009 has played all its home series at neutral venues mostly at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah as foreign teams have refused to visit the country because of security concerns.“This is a high profile series and we want to earn something from it. It is a difficult situation for us because of teams refusing to play in Pakistan,” the source revealed. Meanwhile, the chairman PCB Zaka Ashraf is hopeful of finalizing the venue in the coming days and the board intends to make the series cost effective, allowing them to earn sizeable revenue. On the other hand, the Cricket Australia (CA) has offered Pakistan to stage the series in the northern part of their country, provided if the PCB fails to name an alternate destination.The CA official, Petery Young reportedly said that Australia is keen to assist Pakistan in making the necessary arrangements for the series. The series is expected to take place in mid-August, after both sides have completed their commitments against Sri Lanka and England respectively. “Pakistan is still the host and we’re relying on it to find us a venue. We realise that hosting the series in Australia may be a bit expensive but if the PCB doesn’t find any other venue, we can schedule it to take place here,” revealed CA Public Affairs GM Young. Apart from Australia and India, the PCB is already in negotiations with the South African, Malaysian cricketing authorities, all of whom have shown eagerness in staging the contest. There are further plans to change the itineraries of the contest - a possibility which could see both sides playing seven T20 Internationals.

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