Lahore: A senior PCB official has refuted suggestions that the forthcoming one-day and T20 series against Australia might have to be cancelled due to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) withdrawing its offer to host the series in August-September. "Obviously we are very disappointed that the Sri Lankans have decided against hosting the series for us because of the Sri Lankan Premier League, but there is no chance of the series being cancelled," former Test captain Intikhab Alam said.
Intikhab, who is Director of Game Development for the PCB, said the late decision by the Sri Lankan board has come as a setback to Pakistan cricket. "We were looking to host the series in Sri Lanka as it would have provided an ideal opportunity for us to prepare for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup as well," he said.
Pakistan are due to play five ODIs and three T20 matches against Australia from mid-August and the home series was scheduled to be organised in Sri Lanka as the Australians refused to tour Pakistan because of security concerns.
Intikhab said the PCB is working to host the series against Australia at some alternative venue. "There is absolutely no plan to cancel the series against Australia. We are actively working on several options that can serve as an alternative to Sri Lanka. We should have more concrete details in a week or so after we have looked at the various options available to us in further detail," said Intikhab.
Malaysia, South Africa and Bangladesh are said to be among the alternate neutral venues being considered by the PCB to host the series that will clash with the holy month of Ramazan, probably ruling out UAE venues for the matches. "The series is very important for us keeping in mind the overall development of our cricket. There is no way the series will be called off," he said.
Interestingly, Australia have not toured Pakistan since 1998 due to security reasons and Pakistan have played the Aussies at neutral venues ranging from Sri Lanka to Kenya to UAE.