Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pakistan to host Asia Cup in June

Pakistan will host the Asia Cup from June 25 to July 6 in Karachi and Lahore this year, the Pakistan board has announced. Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh - the other big names in the tournament - have confirmed their participation in the event.

"We held a meeting in Delhi back in December and had decided on the dates back then," Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer PCB, told Cricinfo. "India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have confirmed that they will take part in the tournament."

This is the first time the tournament is being staged in Pakistan, and is the first edition of what was meant to originally be an annual event, since 2004.

The initial group phase of matches will be held in Lahore, while the second stage as well as the final will be held in Karachi. As the heat is expected to be severe, particularly in Lahore, all matches will be day-night contests.

The board is also in the process of finalising a tentative itinerary for Australia's tour, should it go ahead. After the decision to cut the tour by 18 days, the two will now play two Tests, four ODIs and a Twenty20 international (instead of three Tests and five ODIs as originally planned). A three-day warm-up match is also on the cards.

Cricket Australia has asked for a list of venues and it is learnt that Karachi is unlikely to host any games. Most of the internationals will be shared between Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan.

Australia are due to send a security delegation to Pakistan before they make a decision to tour the country. They have not toured Pakistan since 1998-99.

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