Counties willing to host Pakistan
The Oval, Headingley and Old Trafford all mooted as neutral venues
Last Updated: March 4, 2009 8:04pm
The Brit Oval: possible venue for Pakistan's Test series against Australia
Several counties have indicated their willingness to stage part of the series between Pakistan and Australia in 2010.
"If it fitted and it had the ECB blessing we would be very keen."
Paul Sheldon Quotes of the week
Australia have been seeking a neutral venue for the Test series following the cancellation of their tour of Pakistan last year on security grounds.
And that need was heightened by Tuesday's terror attack in Lahore on the Sri Lankan team bus, making it unlikely that any team will visit Pakistan in the near future.
Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon said his county would be happy to stage matches at the Brit Oval in London.
"We haven't been approached but we would always be keen to look at hosting that sort of neutral Test match," he said.
"If that's down to the ECB to make a decision, we would make our position with them very clear. We are always keen to use the ground more for the benefit of our members and spectators."
Sheldon said that there was a great tradition of Asian supporters coming to the Oval to watch previous events involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India and urged the England and Wales Cricket Boad (ECB) to consult their calendar.
"The ECB needs to co-ordinate these sorts of things," he added. "They and only they know the complete picture of all the schedules.
"But if it fitted and it had the ECB blessing we would be very keen."
A spokesman for Yorkshire said that no contact had yet been made on the issue and that the club felt it inappropriate to make any formal comment whilst victims of the Lahore terror attacks were still in hospital.
But he emphasised that chief executive Stewart Regan had previously expressed Yorkshire's willingness to host Pakistan home Tests.
In October 2008 Regan said: "We have already made our points to the ECB and if the opportunity came along, then Yorkshire County Cricket Club would be more than happy to stage a Pakistan 'home' Test.
"We believe it would be popular and well received in light of our location and our access to the highly-populated Asian areas in and around Bradford."
A Lancashire spokeswoman said that Old Trafford would not be available for Tests in 2010 due to redevelopment work but could potentially host one-day internationals and that any approach from Pakistan from 2011 onwards would be welcome.
"The 'neutral venue' has been discussed for years and by turning the square and giving us extra wickets it is hoped that we can attract more or different cricket in the future," she said.
"We wouldn't be in a position in 2010 to host any additional matches in terms of first-class or Test matches, but absolutely from the start of 2011 that would be not be a problem and something we would be happy to accommodate, particularly with the hotbed of cricket-lovers in the North West.
"We have quite a conurbation of Asian communities and Lancashire has a history of high-quality Asian overseas players, so to have a neutral Test match involving Asian countries definitely would be well recieved here at Old Trafford."
In 1999 a huge crowd turned out at Old Trafford when the venue hosted a World Cup group fixture between India and Pakistan.