Early wickets keep Pakistan on top after posting 326 in first innings

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England's Joe Root (R) plays a shot over the top of Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed during the international Twenty20 cricket match between England and Pakistan at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, south Wales, on May 5, 2019. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECB

The Pakistan Cricket Board is all set to invite England men’s team to tour Pakistan later this year but if the England and Wales Cricket Board decline for possible reasons of coronavirus pandemic or time constraints, PCB’s Plan B is to offer the option to the ECB for an England T20 series in Pakistan early next year.

Dawn News learnt on Thursday that PCB chief executive Wasim Khan will meet ECB chief executive next week and will formally invite England to tour Pakistan this year in October for the T20 series, reliable sources in the PCB confirmed.

“PCB is trying to invite and host England cricket team in Pakistan. But due to Covid 19 pandemic it is not easy to find slots for any new series as lots of assignments are already in pending for the teams around the world teams as per their original FTP commitments,” the sources said. “So, in case England is tied up, the PCB is going to offer ECB a T20 series in Pakistan early next year.

Sources said the PCB is confident of a positive reply from ECB to either of the two offers since the PCB has also bailed out ECB by touring England in these challenging times for the ongoing series.

The sources further said that the ECB is also likely to agree for next year’s T20 series in Pakistan since some of England’s top T20 stars like Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Chris Jordan and few others will already be in Pakistan in Feb-March 2012 for the Pakistan Super League Season Six.

Furthermore, the sources in PCB reliable also reconfirmed that board is committed to host remaining matches of PSL 5 in November after home series against Zimbabwe.

“PCB is really keen to host remaining matches of PSL 5 in November. The PCB wants this season to be completed and winner should be decided after play offs and the final which is necessary not only for fans’ interest but also for many contractual obligations.

“Zimbabwe is scheduled to tour Pakistan in November and PCB is trying to stage remaining PSL matches after Zimbabwe series in Lahore.”

Along PSL and International commitments PCB also now working hard to resume domestic cricket season later this year.

A PCB spokesperson told Dawn News that PCB is already working on SOPs , venues, logistic and all other necessary arrangements and after Pakistan Govt’s permission, will resume domestic matches in due course.

As per the sources Pakistan’s domestic cricket season this year will resume in late September with a National T20 Cup in Rawalpindi and Multan. As proposed, the first phase will be played in Rawalpindi while the second phase will be in Multan and matches of second phase will be telecast live.

It has also been learnt that Pakistan premier first class tournament Quaid e Azam trophy will start from October 23 and all matches will be played in Karachi as PCB planning to ensure bio secure environment for players and officials in hotel and in stadiums and is also putting in place medical fecilities for the players during the event.