Tuesday, 27 March 2012

PCB agree to host Australia in Sri Lanka

Pakistan's home limited-overs series against Australia this August is likely to be played in Sri Lanka, with SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and PCB director Intikhab Alam both saying they had agreed in principle to the arrangement. The Memorandum of Understanding has not yet been signed and Alam will travel to Sri Lanka next week to finalise arrangements.
"Sri Lanka Cricket had expressed the desire to host the series to the PCB a month ago and both boards have no problems with it. I do not know about the stand of the other cricket board [CA] yet," Ranatunga told ESPNcricinfo.
Alam revealed that South Africa and Australia itself were the other two nations being considered as venues for the series, but Sri Lanka was selected for commercial and cricketing reasons. A Cricket Australia spokesman said the two boards had kept in contact over the matter of where to play the series, and CA was aware of discussions between the PCB and SLC.
"Pakistan has kept us up to date on its plans for hosting the series they are due to play against us later this year and we are happy with the progress they are making, and with their consultation with us as they move through that process," the spokesman said.
"As part of that, they have kept us in the loop about their discussions on where and when they propose to host this series but have asked us to treat their discussions with us as confidential. Having said that, Sri Lanka has confirmed it is in discussion with Pakistan.
"The discussions between Pakistan and the proposed host nation are continuing, and so are the discussions between us and Pakistan. I would describe those as a work in progress at the moment, with CA-Pakistan talking through fine detail on things such as exact dates."
Pakistan and Australia will play five ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals against each other. The original plan was to play just one Twenty20, but with the World T20 immediately after the series, the countries' boards have agreed to play two extra matches.
Pakistan have had to play their home series in neutral venues since the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009. While the UAE has been their location of choice recently, the scheduling of the Australia series just before the World Twenty20, which will be played in Sri Lanka, may have influenced the decision on where to play the five ODIs and one Twenty20 international.
Pakistan have hosted a Test against Australia in Sri Lanka before, in Colombo in 2002. Their last home series against Australia was played in England, in the summer of 2010, after which they have hosted all their home series, including one against Sri Lanka, in the UAE.