Pakistan’s cricket authorities mull inviting Commonwealth XI

Karachi :Pakistan’s cricket authorities are making strong attempts to invite a Commonwealth XI side this year in a bid to revive international cricket in the country.

Najam Sethi, who headed the successful conduct of inaugural Pakistan Super League, told reporters in Dubai that the cricket board was trying to get a Commonwealth side to tour Pakistan.

“We are in touch with Giles Clarke, President of the England and Wales Cricket Board, because we feel if we can have the Commonwealth side play in Pakistan than we can also have some matches of the second edition of PSL in Pakistan as well,” Sethi said.

The PCB was forced to launch the PSL in Dubai and Sharjah since no top Test team had toured Pakistan since March 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.

Since then only Afghanistan has sent its team to Pakistan while Zimbabwe came for a short one-day series last May.

Sethi said that they had been in talks with Clarke and other officials as well to get cricketers from Commonwealth countries to come to Pakistan as a team and play a few matches this year.

“If that happens it will break the ice for us and we can also have few matches of the PSL in Pakistan next edition,” Sethi said.
Sethi said the fact that some of the matches in the PSL had drawn capacity crowds and that tickets for the final on Tuesday were already sold out, showed the league had been a success.

Sethi said that more than anything else the PSL had brought Pakistan cricket and its talent to the fore in a big way.

“The PSL has generated so much interest not only in Pakistan but in other countries as well. It has been a big boost for us,” he added.

Sarwar Salman Butt, project director of the league, said that the total investment made by the PCB and the five franchises was around USD 20 million.

“The league has been a success and they are good chances some of the franchises will go close to the break even after the first edition while some will not. The PCB is also very close to breaking even,” Butt said.

He also disclosed that the second edition of the PSL will again be held in the month of February in the UAE in 2017, while some matches could be staged in Pakistan if the security situation allows that to happen.