Pakistan are hoping to host more teams at home after Sri Lanka played three ODIs and three T20Is without a hitch. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
With Pakistan successfully hosting Sri Lanka for ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals recently in the country, the Pakistan Cricket Board have decided to invite more teams to the country in the wake of the improving security situation. Following Sri Lanka's tour for games in Karachi and Lahore, the Pakistan Cricket Board have invited South Africa and Ireland for limited overs series next year while at the same time, they are also trying to convince Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to play the Test series which are part of the ICC World Test Championship also at home.
"The Board is confident that it will be hosting at least four foreign teams in a span of five to six months next year after it invited South Africa and Ireland to tour Pakistan for limited over series. South Africa is a top team while Ireland also carry substantial influence in the ICC so the PCB believes if these two teams come to Pakistan early next year it will pave the way open for even Australia, England and New Zealand to send their teams soon," a PCB source said.
Despite security not proving to be an issue, top Sri Lankan players like Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal decided to skip the tour on safety grounds. This invited severe criticism from Pakistan's politicians with some of them accusing India of arm-twisting tactics. Despite the absence of star players, Sri Lanka whitewashed Pakistan, the number one ranked T20I side 3-0 despite losing the ODIs 2-0. South Africa have not toured Pakistan since 2007 while this could be Ireland's first tour to Pakistan.
Teams like Australia, England and New Zealand have not toured the country for a very long time. In the wake of the deteriorating security situation, England have not gone to Pakistan since 2005 while Australia's last tour was in 1998. New Zealand had travelled to Pakistan in 2002 for a Test series but a terror attack in Karachi saw their tour being cancelled and their last tour was in 2004. International cricket stopped coming to Pakistan following the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March 1, 2009. Many Sri Lankan players were hurt and for six years, Pakistan were forced to play their 'home' games in the UAE.
Zimbabwe became the first team to tour Pakistan in 2015 for three ODIs. This was followed by tours by teams like ICC World XI, West Indies, Sri Lanka and the successful hosting of the Pakistan Super League Twenty20. Sri Lanka last played a Test in Pakistan in 2009 on that ill-fated tour while Bangladesh have not played a Test in Pakistan since 2003, which has been their only tour of the country in their cricketing history.