Karachi: Pakistan's home cricket series against the West Indies was shifted to the Gulf venue of Sharjah on Tuesday after the West Indies declined to play in Pakistan because of security concerns over border tensions between India and Pakistan.
"Both Boards have mutually decided to shift the series to Sharjah and there will be two Tests instead of three and three One-day games," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia said. This will be the first time that Sharjah, which has held a record 181 One-day Internationals, will host a Test. West Indies was due to play three Tests and three One-day Internationals in Pakistan from January 25. "There will be no side game and West Indies is expected to reach Sharjah by January 25," Zia said adding that PCB was working out the itinerary for the series. Pakistan's home series was thrown into doubts after West Indies said it has security concerns in the wake of tension between the rival South Asian neighbours and the on- going war in Afghanistan. Cricket in Pakistan was badly hit after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington followed by the retaliatory US military action on Afghanistan. New Zealand recalled its players from the country in September and cancelled its three match series in Pakistan in 2001. Pakistan also failed to attract Sri Lanka for a short One-day series as replacement. The International Cricket Council (ICC) at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in October approved that any series hit by international unrest could be played at a neutral venue. West Indies last toured Pakistan in 1997 when it lost all three Tests. The series between Pakistan and West Indies will be only the third to be played at a neutral venue in Test cricket's 126-year history. South Africa and Australia played in England in 1911 while Pakistan and Sri Lanka played the final of the Asian Test Championship (ATC) in 1999.
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