Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pakistan could shift home series to New Zealand

New Zealand is reluctant to tour Pakistan following the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Pakistan is considering the option of shifting its home series against New Zealand, scheduled for November-December 2009, to New Zealand due to the concerns about security in the country. Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan board chief executive, said he had meetings with New Zealand Cricket chief Justin Vaughan and was considering his offer to move the series to New Zealand.

"We have discussed the series but have yet to reach a final decision on it," Butt told AFP. "At the moment New Zealand are averse to touring Pakistan. So among the options available, the best is to play in New Zealand."

Butt said playing in New Zealand would be a more economically viable option than playing in the UAE. "The recent series cancellations in Pakistan have hit our finances so, by playing in New Zealand, we can save a lot of money on security arrangements and on various other things.

"If we play in New Zealand, the cost of security comes to zero, and further the hotels are cheaper than in the UAE. And after playing in New Zealand, our team can move to Australia for another series," Butt said. "We also have the option of playing in the UAE, but we want to take all the factors into consideration. Not playing at home is frustrating but we have to give our players some cricket, wherever it may be."

Vaughan said touring Pakistan was not a viable option but New Zealand were "keen to host their series" and would "seek no profits" if it was played on their grounds.

The chances of Pakistan hosting international teams in the near future is remote after the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March. The ICC also removed Pakistan from the list of co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup because of the uncertain security situation in the country.