Karachi abuzz with anticipation
This is no April fools joke, international cricket is coming back to Karachi on Sunday with the West Indies in town for three T20Is at the National Stadium.
The city has not seen an international match since 2009 when they hosted a Test during Sri Lanka’s ill-fated 2009 tour.
A militant attack on the Sri Lanka bus saw players injured and scarred Pakistan cricket forever.
From that tour on Pakistan were forced to play all internationals at neutral venues mostly in the United Arab Emirates a bitter blow for the cricket mad country.
Lahore has been favoured for thefew international forays into Pakistan since 2009 hosting Zimbabwe in 2015 before the visit of a World XI and international players in the Pakistan Super League final in 2017.
Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder and Devendra Bishoo decided to skip the series due to security concerns but the West Indies have still brought a strong squad along.
The 31-year-old Jason Mohammed will lead a squad that includes 4 newcomers with a minimum of two T20I debuts guaranteed for Sunday.
The four bolters in the Windies group are Andre McCarthy, a middle-order batsman, pacers Odean Smith and Keemo Paul, and Veerasammy Permaul, the left-arm spinner who has played Tests and ODIs but not T20Is.
The crowds in Pakistan will savour the talents of Marlon Samuels, Samuel Badree, Andre Fletcher, Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams alongside the home team who will no doubt receive a raucous reception.
Pakistan will likely also take the opportunity to blood some fresh talent with uncapped youngsters Asif Ali, Hussain Talat and Shaheen Afridi included in the squad led by Sarfaraz Ahmed.
The home team will be looking to retain their number one ranking and sport a strong squad that should be favourites to win this quickfire series.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (c/wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Faheem Ashraf, Muhammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi
Windies: Jason Mohammed (c), Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Andre McCarthy, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Marlon Samuels, Odean Smith, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams.
Sunday 1 April, 20:00 local (15:00 GMT)
Monday 2 April, 19:30 local (14:30 GMT)
Tuesday 3 April, 19:30 local (14:30 GMT)
Calls for inquiry into the ECB’s lack of BAME umpires
John Holder said he suspects there has been a “definite policy of only employing whites” for positions on the First Class Umpires Panel.
Jos Buttler says England players will have support at hand during tour bubble
The vice-captain is confident the ECB will look after the players’ mental well-being during the South Africa trip.
On this day in 2013: Sachin Tendulkar begins his 200th and final Test match
The 40-year-old had set many batting records since making his debut for India in November 1989.
Azeem Rafiq reveals details of racist abuse he says occurred when with Yorkshire
The White Rose county has released a statement saying it takes the claims ‘very seriously’.
Rahul Dravid calls for Indian Premier League expansion
Rahul Dravid wants a ninth team added to the Indian Premier League.
Langer hints at preference for Burns over Pucovski
Will Pucovski is coming off back-to-back first-class double centuries while Joe Burns is yet to register a Shield fifty.
England tour drawn into Cricket South Africa dispute
England are due to head for Cape Town on Monday for one-day and Twenty20 series starting on November 27.