Pakistan have relocated their home series against West Indies from Rawalpindi to Multan. The decision has been taken in light of political uncertainty in Islamabad – the country’s capital, adjacent to Rawalpindi. The fixtures and schedule, however, remain unchanged, with the three ODIs, which are a part of the Cricket World Cup Super League to be played on June 8, 10 and 12.
The games were originally slated for Rawalpindi, but the PCB had kept Multan as a back-up option, with former Prime Minister Imran Khan potentially planning protest rallies in the capital over the coming days. The original protest rally took place on May 25, but there remains a significant possibility of further such rallies over the coming days.
Multan remained the only viable option, with Lahore and Karachi’s pitches being relaid, and the Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar undergoing renovation work.
Multan is situated in southern Punjab, and among the hottest cities in the country, with temperatures in the high 40s expected on matchdays. Pakistan has never hosted elite cricket at this time of year due to the summer heat, with nearly all high-level competitions including domestic season played during the winter and spring months between September and April.
During the summer months, the PCB has mostly held its training camps in northern side of the country mostly in Abbottabad, which is located in the hilly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and experiences relatively milder weather. Last year, the PCB had made an attempt to host women cricketers camp in Multan but had to call off the camp due to extreme heat.
The games will start at 4pm in the afternoon to mitigate the weather conditions. Pakistan will carry out their training camp in Lahore from June 1-4, before the squad moves to Multan on June 5. West Indies will arrive in Islamabad as planned on June 6 and will travel to Multan on a charter flight. The ODIs have been carried over from the series scheduled last December, when only the three T20Is took place, a Covid outbreak in the West Indies camp forcing the postponement of the ODIs. There will be no biosecure bubble for the series.