Pakistan's limited overs tour of Zimbabwe called off

Pakistan's limited overs tour of Zimbabwe called off

Shahid Afridi shaking hands with Elton Chigumbura after T20 match in Pakistan. (Photo Source: AFP)

Pakistan’s limited overs tour of Zimbabwe called off: The Pakistani team’s limited overs tour of Zimbabwe which was scheduled to take place between August 17 to September 17 in Zimbabwe has been cancelled. The decision was announced after a mutual understanding between the boards of both the countries.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official was quoted by PTI saying, “It is true we were having second thoughts about playing a tri-series with West Indies, but the Zimbabwe Board was also facing problems securing sponsors for the tour. So basically the tour is off with mutual understanding”.

Recently after a gap of six years, International cricket returned to Pakistan when the Zimbabwean team toured them for a limited overs series which encompassed two T20 matches and three ODI’s.  After which it was reported that PCB had also agreed for the tour of Zimbabwe in August which would involve bilateral ODI series as well as a tri-series with West Indies being the third team. It was meant to reciprocate the favor which the Zimbabwe cricket team had done on Pakistan cricket by playing the ODI series in Pakistan.

The PCB official rubbished the reports and said, “Previous reports about the PCB confirming the tri-series in Zimbabwe were not correct. No agreement was made for either the tri-series or bilateral ODI series”

It is expected that it might affect the cordial relations between the two boards but the PCB official thinks contrary to it. He further said, “The decision is taken unanimously and in a cordial manner that the cricket boards of Pakistan and Zimbabwe will now try to find the next possible window for a bilateral series to be scheduled.

Many people are speculating that the decision was taken by the PCB to safeguard Pakistani team’s entry into the Champions Trophy 2017 in which only the top 8 teams will feature. The cut-off period for qualification to the event is September 30 after which the top 8 teams will qualify eventually. Pakistan started as the 9th ranked ODI team prior to the Sri Lankan series but their series victory here helped them to move one position ahead to the 8th in ODI team rankings. Pakistan has gained an inaccessible lead of 3-1 in the 5-match ODI series.

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Had Pakistan played limited overs series and then tri-series in Zimbabwe and had they lost, they would have been shown the exit door from the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. West Indies which is the 9th ranked side was also set to participate in the tri-series. But, now as there are no ODI’s scheduled till September 30, Pakistan are most likely to qualify for the Champions Trophy ahead of them.