KARACHI: West Indies’ eagerly anticipated tour of Pakistan has been postponed until at least next year as smog in Lahore makes conditions impossible for cricket, with other issues also coming to the fore.
The mega city, home to the iconic Gaddafi Stadium, has been facing smog issues that have severely affected visibility for a week and is expected to stay for some time to come.
“The West Indies series has been postponed until next year for a number of reasons,” a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told The Express Tribune. “The main reason is that weather conditions in Lahore right now make it impossible for cricket to take place. Even domestic matches for the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy have been disturbed so the PCB have decided to delay the series.”
However, other reasons have also led to the decision. “A few of the players are unavailable at the moment and there have also been concerns about security.”
The final issue — that of security — will be a particular cause of concern for the PCB and for fans of cricket in Pakistan. International cricket is slowly returning to the country, with Pakistan recently hosting Sri Lanka in a historic T20I game at the Gaddafi; the first time in eight years that a Test-playing team toured Pakistan since the Sri Lankan bus was attacked way back in 2009.
Concerns emerging over security can put a spanner in all the work that has been done by the PCB in a bid to help cricket return.
The West Indies team also announced their schedule for the series against New Zealand before giving any dates for their tour to Pakistan. “The series was already looking difficult since the West Indies had announced their series with New Zealand,” added the official. “The PCB was still hopeful of a tour this year but considering weather conditions, they decided to postpone it till next year now.”