x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Tweaks could open door to UAE series

More Twenty20s and fewer ODIs could be played in Pakistan's series against Australia given that a 3pm start is not ideal with humidity high in August.

Misbah-ul-Haq, centre, seen here preparing for today's first one-day international against Sri Lanka in Pallekele, could be leading the Pakistan team in a series against Australia in the UAE this year. Eranga Jayawardena / AP Photo
Misbah-ul-Haq, centre, seen here preparing for today's first one-day international against Sri Lanka in Pallekele, could be leading the Pakistan team in a series against Australia in the UAE this year. Eranga Jayawardena / AP Photo

ABU DHABI // Senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials are due to arrive in the UAE tomorrow to continue discussions with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) on the possibility of hosting a limited overs series against Australia in the country in August.

Intikhab Alam, the PCB's director for international operations, is arriving from Kuala Lumpur, a venue the PCB has also kept in mind for a series that was originally scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka.

That plan fell through after the Sri Lanka board finalised plans to hold the first-ever Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) at the same time.

Pakistan's familiarity with the UAE, where they have been hosting series since the 2009 terror attacks on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore means that despite the expected heat and humidity at that time of the year, the series could be staged here, with a few tweaks to the itinerary.

Those tweaks, likely to centre around changing the number of ODIs and T20s and later start times, will be discussed during the meetings. "Basically for ODIs, the weather is not conducive for a 3pm start in August," Dilawar Mani, the chief executive of the ECB, said.

The original itinerary has the sides playing five ODIs and three T20s but that could be swapped to have five T20s and three ODIs, provided the International Cricket Council (ICC) gives the PCB the go-ahead to arrange five T20s. The world's governing body does not allow bilateral series of more than three T20s currently, unless the World T20 is held that year, which it is this time.

"If they wish to play T20s, for which they need ICC dispensation, I suggest they come and play T20s," Mani said. "Obviously it may be difficult for them to change the itinerary with Australia but we'd be more than happy to host them.

"We've always said to Pakistan this is your home, come and play when you want to and we make it cost-effective for them. Cost is not an issue. It's part of their broadcasting revenue, so its also important.

"Yes it's going to be hot and humid, but heat is not as much of an issue as the humidity is. Humidity will be a factor, so maybe they start later in the evening instead of 3pm for ODIs."

Meanwhile, in Pallekele Pakistan will try to further bolster their recent superiority over Sri Lanka as their five-match ODI series begins.

Both sides shared the two-match T20 series, but Pakistan welcome back their Test and ODI captain Misbah-ul-Haq, as well as the senior batsman Younis Khan.

The tourists will need their experience to strengthen what appeared to be a very frail batting order during the two T20s; Pakistan were dismissed for 95 in the first game and restricted to 122 in the second and that after a Shahid Afridi half century rescued them.

Sri Lanka's batting was not much sturdier (they made 132 and 99) and will be tested further by a genuinely dangerous and varied attack.

Pakistan have strengthened their bowling by retaining Sohail Tanvir for the ODI leg. Tanvir was man of the series for his four wickets in the T20s but was only added to the ODI squad after the opener Nasir Jamshed was ruled out.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE