LAHORE, Pakistan, CMC – The proposed historic three-match Twenty20 series between West Indies and Pakistan scheduled for later this month here, is now unlikely to come off before after March next year.
Pakistan Cricket Board officials told media here Monday that the series was expected to be postponed because of an issue with smog in the city and the commitment of the leading West Indies players to the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League.
“The PCB and the West Indies Cricket Board had agreed that West Indies will tour Pakistan in November, but now it is unlikely to happen because of the smog and some other reasons,” a senior PCB official told Dawn News.
The “other reasons” refer to the unavailability of several West Indies players as the series, scheduled for late November clashes with the BPL, which started last weekend and wraps up December 12.
The likes of T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite, off-spinner Sunil Narine and batsmen Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Evin Lewis, are all playing for various franchises in the T20 tournament.
Additionally, West Indies are set to embark on a two-Test tour of New Zealand later this month, followed by a three-match one-day series and a three-match T20 series which starts late December and runs until January 3.
According to the PCB source, the weather issue was also a serious one, with meteorological officials unable to say when the heavy smog over the city would ease.
Smog over Lahore has been at a recent all-time worst, creating visibility issues especially at night. And with the floodlights at the Gaddafi Stadium having failed once in a match during the World XI series last September, the PCB believes proceeding with the Windies series in heavy smog could prove problematic.
Other media reports said Cricket West Indies and the PCB also failed to agree on dates to have the series played this year, after the proposed November 23-26 itinerary proved impractical.
CWI were pushing for the itinerary to be rescheduled until December but PCB officials were said to be worried by the threat of seasonal rains during that month. The news of the postponement will be a huge blow for the PCB as they were using the proposed tour as part of their campaign to have international cricket returned to the country after a long break, due to the country’s volatile security situation.
Sri Lanka last month played the final T20 of their three-match series in Lahore after the first two contests were hosted in United Arab Emirates, and the Windies tour would have represented the first full bilateral series to be played in Pakistan in eight years, since militants attacked a Sri Lankan team bus en route to the Gaddafi Stadium.
CWI announced last August it was “advancing discussions” with the PCB with the view to proceeding with the series but stressed the tour would be subject to the safe conclusion of the World XI series the following month and the “affirmation of manageable security”.
The three-match series was successfully staged.