Neutral venue for Pakistan-Australia series yet to be decided

South Africa, Malaysia and UAE are seen as possible options for the neutral venue AFP

Lahore: May 12, 2012

The Pakistan Cricket Board is yet to find a suitable ‘neutral venue’ to host its ODI series against Australia in August after Sri Lanka withdraw its offer to organize the high profile series for the PCB.

A PCB official confirmed on Saturday that the Sri Lankan cricket board after initially confirming it would host the series of five ODIs and three T20 matches from mid-August had now changed its mind.

“Apparently, they have changed their mind because they are holding the Sri Lankan Premier League T20 event from August 10 and its dates are clashing with our series,” COO Subhan Ahmed said.

Ahmed said the Sri Lankan withdrawal was very disappointing but now the PCB had no option but to look for alternate venues to host the series.

“The series is an important part of our preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup in September. We are now looking at possible neutral venues in South Africa, Malaysia and even UAE,” he said.

Pakistan had initially dropped UAE as a neutral venue for the series due to the dates of matches clashing with the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and Eid festival and also because of the weather at that time of the year in the Emirate states.

“We had started our preparations for the series and were looking at the commercial aspects of marketing the series in Sri Lanka but now we have to start afresh,” he said.

Sri Lanka had agreed to host the series of five ODIs and three T20 matches from mid-August after the Australians refused to tour Pakistan because of security concerns.

Pakistan has been forced to play all its “home” series abroad mainly in the United Arab Emirates since March, 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed in the attack which also left five of the Sri Lankan players wounded.

Cricket Sri Lanka announced this week it would be hosting its Premier League T20 competition from August 10 to 31st with participation of foreign players.

Ahmed said after the Sri Lankans had agreed to host the series the PCB had even drawn up a tentative itinerary which was discussed with Cricket Australia so the announcement about the Sri Lankan Premier League came as a surprise.

“But we are confident we can find a suitable alternate venue soon,” he said.

Ahmed said the PCB accepted the Sri Lankan offer because it was cost effective to have the matches in Sri Lanka at this time of the year (PTI)