Rawalpindi to host South Africa T20s in March
After hosting successfully two Test matches, the Pindi Cricket Stadium will be ignited with some firework to the pleasure of the passionate crowd of twin cities when South Africa visit Pakistan in March this year for three Twenty20s.
Over the past few months, Rawalpindi’s Pindi Cricket Stadium has been included in the roaster of venues which have hosted international cricket in the recent years and it will also host eight PSL matches.
With South Africa expected to tour Pakistan in late March for a three-match T20I series, the PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan revealed that he had pitched Rawalpindi as a venue for the matches to Cricket South Africa.
“The tour of South Africa is very much a waiting game now and by the end of the month we should have a clear position. Their head of security is expected in Pakistan during the initial games of the HBL Pakistan Super League. He has all the security plans for each of the different venues.
“He and the board of South Africa are very comfortable with touring. We have to make it work logistically as South Africa finish the tour of India on 18 March and we don’t finish the HBL PSL till 22 March. For them to go back [to South Africa] and come again won’t be possible so we will have to see whether we can have them sit in the UAE for six or eight and provide them the support and practice facilities or we fly them straight in here and provide all that here.
“Lahore and Karachi venues have been diluted because we have been playing our entire cricket here and because of that the wickets here are also suffering. We now have Rawalpindi as a venue available. For me, it makes sense to go there and play the three matches. I have suggested Rawalpindi as a venue to South Africa and they are comfortable with the suggestion.”
Wasim believes the upcoming PSL edition will take the game to more and more audiences in the country, which, in turn, will help in normalising the staging of top-flight cricket in the country.
“The easy thing for us could have been to host HBL PSL 2020 matches in just Lahore and Karachi, but we wanted to take this league wider as we were bringing it to Pakistan for the first time,” Wasim said. We want to make the game accessible to fans all over the country so they can watch their heroes in action and this edition is going to be a catalyst for it. By next year, we want to be in a position to add a couple of more venues. We are looking to develop more and more venues which provides us an opportunity to take the game around the country.
“We are looking at Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad, which hosted the National T20 Cup and needs a little upgradation after which it can be an international venue, and Hyderabad, for which we are working with Sindh government for it upgradation.”