Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan will finally host their first Test series on home soil in over 10 years after Sri Lanka agreed to tour the country for two Tests in December.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that the two Tests will be held in Rawalpindi from December 11 to 15 and Karachi from December 19 to 23.
Sri Lanka were supposed to play the two-Test series in October before returning to Pakistan for a limited overs series in December.
However, after the national team played three ODIs in Karachi and three Twenty20 Internationals in Lahore from September to October, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) finally gave the green light for the Test series after conducting an assessment of the security situation in Pakistan.
“This is a fabulous news for Pakistan cricket and its reputation of being as safe and secure as any other country in the world,” Zakir Khan, PCB Director – International Cricket, was quoted as saying by the PCB website. “We are thankful to Sri Lanka Cricket for agreeing to send their team for the longer version of the game, which will contribute significantly in the PCB’s efforts and drive for regular resumption of international cricket, and help in its endeavours of attracting new audiences and younger generation.
“Now that the itinerary has been confirmed, we will shift our focus on series preparations to ensure we deliver arrangements as per our very high standards. This series is part of our cricket celebrations and we will leave no stone unturned in putting up a show which is a memorable one for the players, officials, fans and media.”
SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva added: “We are pleased to confirm our return visit to Pakistan as, based on our earlier visit, we are comfortable and convinced conditions are suitable and conducive for Test cricket.
“We also believe all cricket playing countries should host international cricket at home and in this relation we are happy to play our part in complete resumption of international cricket in Pakistan, which not only has a proud history but has been one of our biggest supporters in our early days as a cricket nation.
“We drew our opening World Test Championship series against New Zealand, and I anticipate, like in the past, these two Tests will be exciting and competitive, and the fans will thoroughly enjoy the quality of cricket that will be on display.”
Pakistan last hosted Test cricket on home soil in 2009 as the Sri Lankan team’s bus was attacked by armed militants in March that year.
Six police officers and two civilians were killed in the ambush, while six Sri Lankan cricketers, two staff members and a reserve umpire were injured.
Since then, Pakistan have been holding all their home games in the United Arab Emirates.
However, international cricket has slowly been trickling back to Pakistan, but all the matches held thus far have either been ODIs or Twenty20 Internationals.