Karachi could host first Test as switch from Rawalpindi looms
Karachi is being discussed as an alternative venue for England’s historic first Test in Pakistan, as part of a back-up itinerary the PCB and ECB have been discussing as political unrest continues in Rawalpindi, the original venue for the series opener.
A final decision is expected to be taken in the next 48-72 hours, with the PCB keen to ensure all state and local bodies are on board with the switch.
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.
He was ousted from power in April after a parliamentary vote of no confidence. Though no dates have yet been announced, the march from Lahore is expected to culminate in the capital towards the last week of November, around the time the England squad land.
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, features ongoing matches in Karachi, Lahore and Abbottabad, with Rawalpindi not scheduled to host any further games.
Aside from the venue switch, the dates of the tour remain unchanged, with England expected to arrive from their training camp in Dubai on November 26-27, with the first Test set to begin on December 1. The second Test in Multan from December 9-13 and the third Test, already scheduled for Karachi from December 17-21, remain as originally planned.