England’s first Test in Pakistan in 17 years will go ahead in Rawalpindi, as originally planned. The potential of political unrest, caused by an anti-government long march led by Imran Khan, the former prime minister, had raised the prospects of a switch to Karachi. As the fluidity of the political situation continues, however, the PCB is confident enough as things stand to press ahead with the original itinerary. That means the first Test, from December 1, will take place in Rawalpindi, and the second in Multan, before the series ends in Karachi.
England have been monitoring the situation closely, with ECB security advisor Reg Dickason recently in the country to assess arrangements for the Test tour, which follows on from Pakistan staging a T20 series between the two countries in September and October.
Rawalpindi, home to Pakistan’s army headquarters, is next to the capital Islamabad, which has been a scene of protests following the assassination attempt on Khan at a rally more than two weeks ago. Khan escaped with injuries to his right leg and is now planning, with his PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf – Movement for Justice) party, a long march on to the capital, demanding fresh elections.
Amid the public protest last week, the Quaid-e-Azam trophy game between Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at Pindi stadium was first delayed for a day with the teams unable travel from the hotel to the stadium, then abandoned outright, with both teams taking five points. The latest round of the competition, which got underway on November 14, featured matches in Karachi, Lahore and Abbottabad, with Rawalpindi not scheduled to host any further games.
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