Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is studying the prospect of accepting an offer from Cricket Australia (CA) to hold a bilateral one-day series Down Under this year. "We are having a look at it [holding a series in Australia] as we are in the process of studying suitable venues to host the series after Sri Lanka withdrew its offer to host the series for us in August," a PCB official said.
Pakistan is due to play a series of five ODIs and three T20 matches, scheduled to begin from mid-August. As expected, the Australians have refused to play in Pakistan because of security reasons. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) initially offered to host the series, but withdrew it later, when dates for the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) were finalised. The PCB official said that the main criteria for finalising a suitable venue was one that was cost effective for the board.
The Express newspaper quoted a CA official as saying that Australia is ready to host the series as some of its venues were suitable for international cricket in August and September. "We were ready to play the series in Sri Lanka as it would have served us well keeping in mind that the ICC T20 World Cup is to be held in Sri Lanka this year. Pakistan is still the host and we're relying on it to find us a venue," CA Public Affairs GM Peter Young said.
He further said that CA could host the series in Australia. "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." Darwin and Cairns are two international venues in Australia where cricket is played in August and September.
The PCB is also considering an offer from the Emirates Cricket Board to convert the series into a series of seven T20 matches which can be played immediately after Eid holidays in the UAE. A source in the PCB said that Chairman Zaka Ashraf will discuss the possibility of holding the series in India when he will go to Chennai to watch the IPL 5 final after receiving an invitation of the BCCI.
"The PCB is also serious about the possibility of the series being held in India and Ashraf will discuss this matter with Indian board officials as it could be a very cost effective for the PCB keeping in mind the commercial market for cricket in India," the source said.