International cricket might resume at Sharjah

Sharjah cricket stadium holds the record of having hosted the highest number of One-Day Internationals Getty Images

Lahore: Jul 22, 2011

International cricket could return to Sharjah after eight years as the PCB is planning to send a team of experts to the venue to assess whether it can host a Test during Pakistan’s series against Sri Lanka this year.

A board official confirmed that the Emirates Cricket Board had sent a request to the PCB that they were keen on hosting one of the three Tests against Sri Lanka at the Sharjah stadium which was until 2003 a busy international venue.

“The Emirates board which is hosting our “home” series against Sri Lanka in October-November wants to organise a Test at the Sharjah stadium,” the official told PTI.

“But we are not sure about the present state of the Sharjah stadium although the ECB says it is ready to host a test match but we will be shortly sending our own team to assess the state of the stadium before we take any decision on it,” the official said.

The Sharjah cricket stadium enjoys the record of having hosted the highest number of One-Day Internationals and was also the venue for Pakistan’s “home” Test series against Australia and West Indies in 2002 when the two teams had refused tour to Pakistan because of security concerns.

But since 2003, when the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series had a fallout with the BCCI, no international game has been held at the stadium although it has hosted matches of associate teams and ICC qualifying tournaments.

“The ECB is keen to revive Sharjah as an international stadium and from we have heard it is being upgraded as well,” the official said.

The ECB includes all the recognised cricket associations and clubs in the United Arab Emirates with the CBFS also being a member of the board whose chief executive is now Dilawar Mani.

The PCB official said the team of experts would also be visiting the other match venues in the UAE to inspect the pitches at the Dubai cricket stadium and Abu Dhabi cricket stadium which has recently been hosting most of Pakistan’s “home” matches.

Pakistan plays three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and a Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka later this year.