Pakistan to face Sri Lanka and England in UAE

Omar Khalid

Karachi, June 21 (IANS) Pakistan's cricket chiefs have voted in favour of United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the venue as they plan to conduct most of their 'home' matches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Zakir Khan, Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) director operations, announced Tuesday that Pakistan will host both their series against Sri Lanka and England in the UAE.

'We have decided to host our matches against Sri Lanka and England in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The decision has been taken after carefully considering all our options,' said Zakir Khan, a former Test fast bowler.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi were always the top choices for the PCB which has hosted most of the country's 'home' matches in UAE over the last couple of years as international teams have refused to tour Pakistan because of security concerns.

Pakistan invited Sri Lanka to play this year's series in Pakistan but the islanders declined the offer as their players refused to tour a country where they were attacked by terrorists in March 2009. The attack in Lahore wounded seven of Sri Lanka's players. Several Pakistanis, mostly cops, died in the attack. Pakistan has not played host to a top foreign team since the attack.

According to PCB's plans, Pakistan will face Sri Lanka in October and November, and England in January and February.

Zakir said Pakistan considered the option of hosting some of the matches in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe but finally opted in favour of UAE.

'We mulled over several options for both the series but finally we have confirmed UAE for all the matches in both the series,' said Zakir.

Pakistan will play three Tests, five one-day matches and a Twenty20 against Sri Lanka. The England series is likely to include three Tests, up to five one-day matches and one or two Twenty20 games.