Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Pak vs WI: PCB wants govt guidelines on cricket series amid political unrest

Training camp in Lahore.— PCB official
Training camp in Lahore.— PCB official
  • PCB seeks govt's guidelines on upcoming West Indies series amid political unrest.
  • PCB has already agreed to set up training team camp.
  • Pindi Stadium has been set as first choice venue for series.

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sought guidelines from the federal government on Tuesday to decide on the future of the West Indies series, which is set to start on June 8 at the Pindi Stadium, despite the political unrest in the country's capital.

The PCB has already agreed to set up a team camp at the venue beginning June 1, with the West Indies scheduled to arrive in the city on June 5.

The three-match ODI series is part of the World Cup 2023 qualifying round. It's also important for Pakistan since it's the start of a busy international cricket season for the national side in the months ahead.

The News has learnt from well-placed sources that the federal government has been approached by the PCB for guidance about the venue or future of the series amid the volatile political situation.

"Yes, the PCB has approached the federal government regarding the series against the West Indies scheduled to start on June 8 at the Pindi Stadium. Since it is the federal government that provides the entire security cover to all those associated with the series, including teams, officials, and other crew, we cannot move an inch without the federal government’s guidelines. Since it is a matter of national prestige, we will only follow the government in this respect," a source told The News.

The Pindi Stadium has been set as the first choice venue for the series, while Multan Stadium has been marked as the reserve venue. Multan’s weather in June is considered one of the hottest in Pakistan. Besides that, there are other logistical problems associated with the venue.

"The PCB has kept Multan as a reserve venue, but the board cannot even move to Multan without the approval and guidance from the federal government. Since it is an important series that requires federal as well as provincial government support, the PCB cannot decide anything on its own," the source said.

The third option available to the PCB is to postpone the series for better times ahead. "The series was already rescheduled a couple of months back following COVID-19 threats. Pakistan's cricket is in dire need of international exposure following the recent layoff. We want to go ahead with the series, but only if the federal government allows us to do that. The last option available at this point in time is to postpone the series yet again. We would only do that under the instructions of the government."

The PCB has already concluded the first phase of the conditioning camp that was in progress in Lahore and has decided not to go ahead with the second round of camp meant for the second group of backup players.

Meanwhile, all those cricketers who are part of the national team and are currently busy playing county cricket will be back by June 2 to figure in the series.

"Those selected for the Pakistan team are involved in the county match which will conclude on May 31. They have been booked back on June 1-2. These players will only be asked to join the national camp if the government decides to go ahead with the series against West Indies."