PCB chief Mani to visit South Africa to convince CSA for short trip to Pakistan

Mani has said that his main priority remains to see the return of full international cricket to Pakistan and the country again hosting ICC events.

PCB chief Ehsan Mani is also due to meet with the Pakistan team players and management before the first Test from Boxing day in Centurion.   -  AFP

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani will travel to South Africa on Monday on a mission to convince Cricket South Africa (CSA) to support the return of international cricket to the troubled nation.

Mani has said that his main priority remains to see the return of full international cricket to Pakistan and the country again hosting ICC events.

An official source in the board said that Mani would also be persuading the South African cricket officials to continue their support for the return of international cricket to Pakistan as last year the World Eleven included several South African players.

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“Mani will request them to also play a short limited over series sometime in 2019 in Pakistan,” the source said.

Mani is also due to meet with the Pakistan team players and management before the first Test from Boxing day in Centurion and is expected to have a meeting with head coach Mickey Arthur about plans for the upcoming World Cup in England.

The PCB is already keeping its fingers crossed that Cricket Australia (CA) will agree to send its team to Lahore or Karachi next March to play at least two One-Day Internationals, which are part of a five-match series scheduled in the UAE before the World Cup.

The PCB has been buoyed by media reports from Australia that Cricket Australia is considering it’s request to play part of the ODI series in Pakistan.

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“We are in ongoing discussions with the PCB about the One-Day tour in March next year. We recognise that the PCB and the Pakistan government are taking every step to improve the security for touring cricket teams and we’ll continue discussions with the PCB as the safety and security of Australian players and support staff is our number one priority,” said a Cricket Australia spokesman in Melbourne.

The statement came after PCB’s newly-appointed managing director Wasim Khan maintained that he is willing to address all reservations including security arrangements.

Cricket Australia has not sent its team to Pakistan since 1998. In March 2009 after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, top teams have declined to tour the country due to security concerns.

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But since last year, the PCB has succeeded in bringing some international cricket to home by hosting a short T20 series against a ICC World Eleven in Lahore last September and than hosting a lone T20 game against Sri Lanka also in Lahore in October.

This year in April, the West Indies also played a three-match T20 rubber in Karachi.