MCC confirms Pakistan tour, South Africa likely to visit in March

Former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara will lead a MCC team on Pakistan tour next month for a series of matches, the PCB and MCC jointly announced on Wednesday.

The announcement was made by PCB’s CEO Wasim Khan in Karachi during a press conference which was followed by a press statement from Marylebone Cricket Club.

Wasim also hinted towards strong possibilities of a tour by South Africa team by end of March for three T20Is.

“I will being today’s press conference with a good news,” Wasim said as he arrived to talk with journalists in Karachi.

“MCC is sending its team to Pakistan in February 2020, team will be led by former Sri Lankan Cricketer Kumar Sangakkara and it will play series of matches in Lahore,” the PCB CEO confirmed.

This will be MCC’s first visit to Pakistan in more than four decades. The last time a Marylebone Cricket Club toured Pakistan was in 1973.

A statement from MCC stated that the concept of a tour to Pakistan has been a long-stated aim of the its World Cricket committee, with members having expressed an interest in helping Pakistan during the country’s exile from hosting international cricket.
“At the MCC World Cricket committee meeting held at Lord’s in August, the WCC re-affirmed their support in seeing touring sides return to Pakistan – with security analysis being a prerequisite – following a presentation and discussion with Wasim Khan,” the statement said.

“It was agreed that MCC would consider touring Pakistan in the future and following a full investigation into security measures, and assessment into the viability of the trip, the Club can confirm they have accepted an invitation from the PCB to tour in February,” it added

Kumar Sangakkara, who is also the MCC President, said that it was hugely important to support cricket in countries such as Pakistan, and the PCB has done a tremendous job in rebuilding the international cricketing landscape since the tragic events of 2009.

“I am excited to be captaining MCC on the tour to Pakistan. With international cricket having returned for the first time in a decade, it is wonderful the Club is doing its part to strengthen cricket in Pakistan and I look forward to being part of the trip,” said the former Sri Lankan cricketer.

Wasim Khan said that the tour by MCC will be significant step for Pakistan towards revival of international cricket in country.
He also confirmed that Cricket South Africa has also initially agreed to send its team for a short tour to Pakistan in March next year. However, there’re few things yet to be finalized in that regard.

“We have been speaking to South Africa about playing three T20s in Pakistan at the end of March. Their board has signed it off we are just waiting for the players to confirm if they’re happy. They have some changes in their leadership. Their CEO has changed, they going to have a new CEO soon and we will have good news on that in the next few weeks,” said Wasim Kan.

He said that PCB in is communication with Bangladesh Cricket Board about next month’s tour and confirmed that there are some reluctance by Bangladeshis.

“They don’t have any issues in playing T20Is but they’re showing reluctances in playing Test Cricket. I have asked them why they have problems in playing Test cricket in Pakistan,” Wasim said.

“We are hosting Sri Lanka, our security arrangements have been cleared by the ICC then what’s their issue,” Wasim said while reminding that Pakistan won’t be playing its Test matches at neutral venue.

The PCB CEO further said that his tour to Australia was very fruitful as PCB and Cricket Australia have agreed to play three Test series instead of two in next scheduled series in 2022. He also hinted at the likelihood of Australia touring to Pakistan.

“Hopefully we will have “A” team from Australia touring to Pakistan before that. We are also in talks with other boards for our A team’s tour,” Wasim said while announcing that Pakistan A team will now be known as “Pakistan Shaheens”.

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