England’s first Test in Pakistan in 17 years could be scheduled for a late move from Rawalpindi to Karachi in response to political unrest in the country.
The recent assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Imran Khan has led to a possible protest march to Islamabad by supporters of his PTI party this month. With both teams to be based in the capital when the first test takes place in neighboring Rawalpindi from December 1, a change is being considered.
This back-up plan would keep the agreed dates of the historic three Test visit, but with the first Test played at the National Stadium in Karachi. Thus, the ground would host both the series opener and its finale, with the second Test in Multan unaffected.
The England Test team will fly to Pakistan on November 26 after a training camp in the United Arab Emirates, with the final decision on the location of the first Test, and therefore its port of entry, to be taken by the Pakistan Cricket Board. in the days to come.
The attempt on Khan’s life caught the attention of England players last week ahead of their second visit to the country this winter and assurances will be sought from Reg Dickason, security consultant to the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Speaking ahead of England’s T20 World Cup final victory against Pakistan in Melbourne on Sunday, Test captain Ben Stokes said: “What happened was a bit of a shock, but Reg has been there.
“He has been England’s top security man for many years and is the best man to assess the situation in my opinion. Regardless of what Reg returns to, the players and the people on that tour trust him 100% because he is a man you trust with your life.”
A spokesman for the England and Wales Cricket Board told The Guardian the governing body is still working on the original schedule but will continue to monitor the situation in consultation with the PCB.
There are no signs yet that the overall tour is in doubt, with the recent Twenty20 leg, a series England won 4-3, widely heralded as a success and the ECB keen to avoid a repeat of the acrimony that followed. to the last withdrawal. year of touring for the men’s and women’s teams.