Saturday, 23 October 2021

Test cricket set to return to Pakistan after a decade

Photo Source: AFP

LAHORE: Pakistan are set to host a Test series for the first time in a decade, against Sri Lanka next month as the two-match Test series will be played in Rawalpindi and Karachi, on December 11 and 19 respectively.

The Test series was originally scheduled to be played in October – with the limited-over series initially slated for December – and was reportedly supposed to be played at a neutral venue as Sri Lankan players had refused to tour Pakistan. But PCB requested Sri Lanka to play the entire bilateral series in Pakistan, assuring the highest level of security. The limited-overs series was then played first as a test for security measures taken by the hosts. Following the success of the tour, a convinced Sri Lanka agreed to play in Pakistan again.

“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,” SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva said in a statement. “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.

Top Sri Lankan players had pulled out of the Pakistan trip in September, forcing SLC to send a second-string team to play the limited-overs series in Lahore and Karachi. With the visitors ending the tour on a high, winning the T20I series 3-0, Sri Lanka coach Rumesh Ratnayake signed off with lavish praise on Pakistan, calling the tour a success both on and off the field, adding he was confident that Sri Lanka soon wouldn’t be the only ones to have visited Pakistan.

“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.”

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