Pakistan Cricket Board has written to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials asking them of the possibility of hosting their home series against the West Indies in September and October, sources said on Sunday. The request has come in the wake of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hiking fee by demanding ground rent for hosting Pakistan’s matches.
Pakistan have not hosted any international series — other than a low-profile limited over series against Zimbabwe — since terrorists’ attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009 and all their matches have been played on three grounds in the UAE since.
Sources said the UAE, who also hosted the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League in February this year, have sent a request to the PCB asking them for ground rent for staging the matches there.
“PCB was dealing with the authorities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah separately and most of the time they were sharing the gate money and charges for the hospitality boxes with their hosts. But earlier this month officials of the Duabi Sports City and Sharjah met the PCB officials in Lahore, asking them to start paying rent for the use of stadiums,” said sources.
That has irked the PCB officials and that is the main reason they are looking to Sri Lanka for hosting the matches.
PCB executive committee head Najam Sethi last week said Sri Lanka could host Pakistan-West Indies series, as hosting matches in the UAE is costing the board higher than it would in Sri Lanka.
“But the main problem for the PCB will be that October is a rainy season in Sri Lanka and last year’s one-day series between the West Indies and Sri Lanka was hit by rain, so that is number one problem. The second problem will be lesser gate money as there will be few people interested in watching Pakistan play the West Indies,” said sources.
Even before the PCB letter, the SLC has shown keenness in hosting Pakistan’s matches.
Last year PCB and BCCI had also agreed to play a shortened series in Sri Lanka after India refused to play in the UAE, but the series could not materialize after the Indian government did not give permission to the team to play Pakistan.
UAE authorities are sure Pakistan will revert to them as they did on PSL after they initially planned to host the league games in Qatar.
“PCB gets the best cooperation and we did not charge ground rent for so many years and were only sharing the revenues from ticket sale and corporate boxes sale but now it’s time we look at our budget and development. So we have demanded ground rent as well.
“We are sure the PCB will not get as fair a deal and facilities as they do in the UAE and there is always flavor of the crowds, that may not be big but on holidays they are significant and earn them money.
“We are confident that Pakistan’s matches will continue to be held in the UAE until the security situation improves and international cricket returns to Pakistan,” said an official linked to the UAE.