LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is in negotiations with its Sri Lankan counterpart to host them on home soil for a two-match Test series, which will be part of the ICC Test Championship programme, starting from July this year following the 50-over World Cup.
When contacted by Dawn,a PCB official on Thursday confirmed that the negotiations between the PCB and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) were underway on the proposed Test matches but nothing was final as yet.
Pakistan have not host any nation for any Test match owing to security-related issues after the horrifying terrorist attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team, which was playing a Test match, in Lahore on March 3, 2009.
Since then, the PCB has been successfully hosting foreign teams for bilateral home series at the neutral venues of the UAE. However, holding the home series in the UAE is costing the PCB very high, and due to this factor the Board has long been trying to bring foreign teams back to Pakistan for international matches.
After hosting Zimbabwe (ODI and T20 International series in Lahore, 2015), World XI team comprising players from different Test-playing countries (three-match T20 International series in Lahore, 2017), Sri Lanka (one T20 International in Lahore, 2017) and West Indies (three-match T20 International series in Karachi, 2018), the PCB has been gradually moving towards fully restoring international cricket in the country.
Moreover, a number of Pakistan Super League T20 matches — featuring prominent Pakistani and foreign cricketers — have been held in Pakistan since 2017 after the PCB staged the entire 2016 inaugural edition in the UAE. The 2017 PSL final was hosted by Lahore; in 2018 PSL, two playoffs were held in Lahore while the final was organised in Karachi. In the 2019 edition, as many as eight PSL matches including the final were held in Karachi.
As all the above-mentioned international matches and PSL games went smoothly without any security incident, the PCB efforts have raised hopes of top-level international cricket, including Test matches, returning to Pakistan.
Prior to the recently-held five-match ODI series played between Pakistan and Australia in the UAE, the PCB tried to convince Cricket Australia to play a few of the games in Pakistan, an offer which CA declined.