Sharjah to host Test after nine years

Desert venue will see Pakistan take on Sri Lanka in November.

Umar Farooq August 12, 2011

LAHORE: Sharjah will host a Test after nine years after Pakistan and Sri Lanka reached an agreement to play the third Test of their series at the venue.

Sharjah last hosted a Test in October 2002 – between Pakistan and Australia – but has been overlooked from holding international matches since 2003 due to match-fixing allegations. However, with both countries agreeing on playing in Sharjah, the venue, once renowned for hosting epic Pakistan-India matches, will see top-flight cricket again.

“We’ve finally confirmed that Pakistan will play a Test in Sharjah,” Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) Chief Operating Officer Dilawar Mani told The Express Tribune. “We offered Sharjah at the very beginning - apart from Dubai and Abu Dhabi - but it was necessary for both sides to agree playing in Sharjah. We’re now delighted to know that it has happened.”

Sharjah cricket stadium enjoys the record of having hosted the highest number of One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and is currently undergoing renovation to bring it up to the required standard.

“The renovation work is in full swing and we hope to be ready by November 3,” said stadium administrator Mazhar Khan. “The venue was very keen to host a fixture from the two series that Pakistan will be playing. After all, Sharjah has  many Pakistani and Sri Lankan followers who will now be able to watch their teams.”

Sri Lanka will play three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 from October 18 to November 25 while England feature in three Tests, four ODIs and three T20s from January 17 to February 27. Sri Lanka are due to arrive in Abu Dhabi on October 15 and will play the first Test at the Zayed Cricket Stadium from October 18 followed by the second Test in Dubai from October 26. Sharjah will host the final Test from November 3.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.