Friday, September 12, 2008

Pakistan invite West Indies for Tests in November

West Indies last toured Pakistan in November 2006

Pakistan have "formally invited" West Indies to play two Tests in November in another attempt to fill the gap created by the postponement of the Champions Trophy.

"We have formally invited the West Indies board to send their team to play two Tests in Pakistan immediately after the three-match one-day series ends in Abu Dhabi," Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, told PTI. "We are hopeful West Indies will respond positively or else this year we just have the one-day series in Abu Dhabi and a Twenty20 four-nation event in Toronto in October."

The Pakistan board had initially proposed a tri-series in South Africa but the plan fell through after Cricket South Africa said their players were fatigued following a long tour of England. They then tried to set up an ODI series against Sri Lanka but had received "ridiculously low figures" for the television rights.

Pakistan have been deprived of Test cricket in 2008 after Australia postponed their tour of the country for Test and ODI series, scheduled for March, because of security concerns. They hosted the Asia Cup in June-July, but the Champions Trophy, which was supposed to begin on September 12, was also postponed after five countries said they wouldn't participate in the tournament due to security fears.

Pakistan's last Test was in India in December 2007 and their next Test series is in January 2009 when they host India. "Unfortunately, we don't have much cricket in coming months," Naghmi said, "but 2009 is going to be a packed season for us and our team will not have enough breathing space."

Their next international assignment is a four-day Twenty20 quadrangular in Toronto next month with Sri Lanka, West Indies and hosts Canada.