Pakistan board considers KL for Australia series

Karachi, December 30:

Kuala Lumpur has emerged as an offshore venue that could be selected to host Pakistan’s

‘home series’ against Australia in April 2009.

According to reports, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is seriously considering Kuala Lumpur as a neutral venue for the five One-day Internationals and a twenty20 game it has to host against Australia. It is understood that top PCB officials believe that the Australians will almost certainly raise security concerns about visiting Pakistan which is why they have stepped up efforts to identify neutral venues for the series.Senior PCB officials, who were in Kuala Lumpur to attend an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meet last week, visited various cricket grounds in and near Kuala Lumpur to see whether they were fit to host international matches.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt and chief operating officer Saleem Altaf visited the facilities.

Malaysia is not an unknown destination on the world cricket map as earlier this year it hosted the Under-19 Cricket World Cup and has also played host to several international matches in the past. Reports said that the PCB chief also met with a senior Cricket Australia (CA) official in Kuala Lumpur on the sidelines of the ACC meeting. PCB also has the option to switch the series to UAE where both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have shown a keen interest to host Pakistan’s matches. England board has also offered its grounds as neutral venues for such games. Australia are scheduled to visit Pakistan next April as a part of a deal that was worked out between the two boards after the Aussies refused to come here in March-April for a full series because of security apprehensions. CA later promised that it would send its team twice to Pakistan to compensate for the ‘postponed’ series of 2008.