Islamabad,September 19,015:- Pakistan Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi said Friday he wants his country’s cricket board to stop advocating for a Test series against India and concentrate more on persuading other teams to tour Pakistan.
The Pakistan Cricket Board is still waiting for the green light from its Indian counterpart for December’s planned Test and limited-over series in the United Arab Emirates.
Both countries’ cricket boards have signed an agreement to play at least six times from 2015-2023, but the India board needs its government’s approval to revive cricketing ties with Pakistan.
“I don’t know why we are pushing for series against India again and again,” Afridi told reporters in Lahore during Pakistan’s short training camp ahead of next week’s limited-over tour to Zimbabwe. “I don’t see any reason to play (against India) if they don’t want to play. We have invited them and if they do not want to play then it shouldn’t be any worry, we are still happy.”
The last time both teams played a Test series was in 2007 when Pakistan toured India. Pakistan last hosted India for a Test series in 2006.
Pakistan has scheduled Twenty20 Internationals against Zimbabwe, England and New Zealand ahead of the World Twenty20 tournament in India next March and April, after which Afridi has said he will quit playing the shortest cricket format. Afridi has already stopped playing ODIs following Pakistan’s loss in the quarterfinals of the Cricket World Cup in Australia in March.
In May, Zimbabwe became the first Test country to tour Pakistan since 2009, when gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team bus. The Zimbabweans played three ODIs and two Twenty20s in Lahore.
With top-level international cricket a rarity in Pakistan, Afridi said it would have been better if the Pakistan Cricket Board had decided to host next February’s inaugural Twenty20 Pakistan Super League at home instead of choosing Doha, Qatar, as the venue.
CA puts heat on Gabba to spruce up
A failure to keep up with the times has already cost one iconic Australian cricket ground lucrative Test matches and the pressure is now on Brisbane’s Woolloongabba ground to modernize.
The Gabba has traditionally hosted the first Test of each Australian summer but has begun to look dated after major renovations at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Adelaide Oval.
A new 60,000-seat stadium at Burswood in Perth is slated to be finished in time for the 2018 season, stripping high-profile Test matches from the same city’s rickety WACA ground which dithered for years over re-development plans.
The Gabba has no immediate fear of a new cross-town rival springing up but the 120-year ground been put on notice by Cricket Australia (CA).
“There has been growth in the stadiums around the country. Making sure that Brisbane and Queensland stay competitive in this space is pretty important,” CA high performance chief Howard said.
The Gabba completed its last renovation in 2005, lifting its capacity to 42,000, but it has since been upstaged by costly refurbishments at the 48,000-seat SCG and the 52,000-seat Adelaide Oval.
Gabba venue manager Blair Conaghan said the stadium would start a “master planning exercise” to map out spending priorities in coming years. — Agencies