International cricket will commence again in the UAE from September end with Pakistan-Sri Lanka series set to be held in the three international venues here. The series will comprise two Tests, five One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 matches.
The highlight of the tour will be a day-night Test match between the two countries at the Dubai International stadium, even as though the dates of the series are still being finalised. Informed sources say that the series will commence with the first Test match to be held in Abu Dhabi and the second one being a day-night event.
This will be Pakistan’s second day-night Test match as they had played against the West Indies at the same venue last year. The match will be played with the pink ball.
It is likely that out of the five One-day matches, two will be held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, which always attracts a huge turnout. Abu Dhabi will host two One-dayers with Dubai to host one match.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, however, is hoping that Sri Lanka plays the three T20 matches of the series in Pakistan itself, subject to security clearance. This can happen only if the World XI versus Pakistan T20 series is successfully staged in Pakistan.
This series which has been named Independence Cup is scheduled to be held on September 12, 13 and 15 at the Gadaffi stadium while ticket sales for these matches have already commenced. The World XI, captained by South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, is made up of 14 players from seven countries.
The PCB wants international cricket to return to Pakistan through Twenty20 matches and hence are hoping that the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka and a Twenty20 series against West Indies in November are held in their country.
If Sri Lanka play in Pakistan, it will be a big boost for PCB as militants had targeted the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, killing eight people.
For the last eight years, Pakistan has been staging their international matches in the UAE including two editions of the Pakistan Super League Twenty20. The Pakistan-Sri Lanka series is likely to commence from September 26.