The organisers who had earlier confirmed the arrival of a World XI to play two matches in Pakistan have postponed the two Twenty20s and will now work with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on revised dates.
Sindh Sports Minister Dr Mohammad Ali Shah, in association with the US-based company Xtreme Sports, roped in renowned current and former cricketers for the matches scheduled for May 25 and 26.
The cricketers who the organisers claimed to have confirmed included former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Paul Adams, Andre Nel, Richard Levi and Jerome Taylor.
The organisers requested the PCB to allow the matches to take place at the National Stadium Karachi (NSK)
and also sanction the national team. The event, according to the organisers, would have created a soft image of the country which has been facing a drought of international cricket since March 2009.
However, the PCB refused to be part of the plan that late in the day and said that hosting international cricketers was a huge task which needed careful planning. The officials went on to request the organisers to postpone the series, a move that has been confirmed by Shah.
“We want our national team to take on the World XI,” said Shah in a statement. “It is also the demand of the sponsors that a second-string side should not be involved. The matches will now be held after the tour of Sri Lanka that ends on July 13. The tentative dates are July 14 and 15 but it will be finalised after consultation with the PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf.”
Organisers wanted no tiff with the PCB
However, according to an organiser who played an effective role in the planning of the matches, the organisers took the decision after the PCB changed its stance.
“The PCB, after looking at the potential in the event, wanted a role in the matches,” the official told The Express Tribune. “Earlier, the company approached the PCB before going to Dr Shah to arrange these matches but they refused. We were left with no choice but to postpone as the PCB is the game’s governing body in the country and we don’t want any tiff with it but want to host these matches in a befitting manner.”
The organisers, meanwhile, are hoping that they will be able to convince the foreign players over the new schedule.
“We had done our homework and had confirmed their participation. Now, hopefully, the players that we confirmed earlier will be able to fit in the new dates in their schedule.
Earlier, the board felt that a lot of time was needed to make appropriate arrangements and it was not possible to sort things out in a short time. Even the national players are busy on the given dates which forced the postponement of the scheduled matches.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2012.
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