Emboldened by the relatively smooth progress of the ongoing series against the World XI, Pakistan are hoping to attract a side for a full home tour next year. In the event of a Full Member refusing to come, the PCB will examine the possibility of organising further tours by a World XI side over the next two years.
That could be the upshot of a three-year investment the ICC has made in ensuring that security in Pakistan for tours, by international sides, is of a standard that allows teams to visit. The game’s governing body will pay $1.1 million over the next three years to two security firms – Reg Dickason as well as Nicholls Steyn and Associates – who will assist with security on tours to Pakistan.
David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, was in Lahore for the second T20I on Wednesday evening where he offered a slightly different view from an earlier statement by Najam Sethi, the PCB chairman. On Tuesday evening, Sethi had told the Guardian that a series with a World XI had been “planned for every year for the three years”.
Richardson, however, said that the priority was to bring more Full Members to Pakistan. “The ICC has already agreed to invest in security and developing security capabilities for a three-year period.
“Whether years two and three include a World XI tour is not decided, maybe not. Certainly, I think the intention would be to bring more and more PSL matches to Pakistan, but also to bring [Full] Member countries to tour Pakistan – not a World XI tour. And that would be the ideal to have international cricket return to Pakistan in normal circumstances.”
If the ongoing series is organised without incident, Sri Lanka are scheduled to play one of their three T20s against Pakistan in Lahore on October 29. West Indies, too, are due to play three T20s in Pakistan in November.
“This is an ice-breaking event,” Sethi said. “We hope that by this time next year there will be a full-fledged tour by at least one member country and in the absence of that, we will go back to the ICC in order to push this process. I have no doubt in my mind that we expect full support from the ICC.”
The return of high-profile cricket in Pakistan has primarily been accented towards the shorter formats. Barring Zimbabwe playing three ODIs in 2015 – though one couldn’t be completed because of rain – after a two-match T20I series, all other games, including the PSL final in March this year, have been 20-over games.
Hosting a Test series remains, for now, a distant prospect, for there remain other priorities for the Pakistan board to attend to – such as moving outside of Lahore as a venue.
“It’s a long process,” Richardson said. “This is a stepping stone in the right direction. A Test series is, by its nature, much longer than three T20s. I think the next step is to grow capabilities, improve capabilities to areas and cities outside of Lahore itself to build the confidence of teams like Australia and England, and all other teams that it’s safe to tour Pakistan on a more regular basis and for much lengthier periods of time.”