KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is looking for a possible shift of their second home from UAE to Malaysia for the future home series including campaigns against Australia and New Zealand.
UAE’s cricket venues, especially the historical stadium of Sharjah, have become a popular venue for hosting T20 leagues. The two new leagues, Arabian Cricket League and Afghan T20 League are disturbing the schedule of PCB’s events in the deserts.
Arabian Cricket League is set to take place in January every year ahead of Pakistan Super League, whereas, Afghan T20 League will be played in at the same time when Pakistan will be hosting Australia and New Zealand in October and November of the running year respectively.
“We have been informed by the ECB that they wish to host the Afghan Super League and also the Arabian Cricket League,” Najam Sethi told ESPNcricinfo. “The Afghan League is tentatively scheduled by them at a time when our Australia and New Zealand series [will be] taking place in the UAE and they are denying the Sharjah facility to us because of the Afghan League. So that’s a problem for us,” he added.
“Secondly, they want to hold the Arabian League in the month of January every year, whereas our [Pakistan] Super League is scheduled for February, so this will come before us and precipitously close to us, which will create difficulty for us, especially if they want our players to participate in both the leagues,” he went on to say.
In the search for new home, Najam Sethi will visit Malaysia to explore the facilities there and feasibility of hosting home series in the country.
“Therefore, I am going to Malaysia to explore the prospects for at least shifting our Australia and New Zealand series if they insist on denying the Sharjah facility to us during the Afghan League. Nothing is certain right now. I am going to look at all the options and try and persuade them to shift their dates if possible, so that there is no conflict,” he mentioned.
However, Sethi told that UAE will be Pakistan’s first choice as their preferred hosting venue, which has been their adopted home since 2009.
“Our first preference will remain the UAE, but if what they are trying now ends up hurting our interests, then we will explore other options,” Sethi said. “So I am just going to Malaysia to check out their facilities and cost and expenditures of holding our bilateral FTP [series] there for the time being. There is no certainty [about it]; we are simply exploring options.”
Malaysia is an associate member of ICC and has not hosted any major international cricket tournament. Though, they have hosted U-19 World Cup in 2008 and other junior tournaments. They have the experience of hosting a triangular series among Australia, West Indies and India in 2006.
This can be the first instance for Malaysia to host a Test match.