18 MARCH – Pakistan Interior Minister took to Twitter on Friday announced that “all four white-ball matches have been moved to Lahore.” It is speculated that the move is being forced on Pakistan Cricket Board because of the risk of a political turmoil that is likely to ensue in the twin cities.
Concerned about what kind of message the shift would send to the cricketing world, PCB is still reluctant to move the matches to Lahore. Previously the Board announced that it was keeping a close eye on the political developments and will post their decision regarding the venue of the match by week’s end. However, the Board does not have much of a choice but to abide by the Interior Ministers’ orders. A confirmation from the Board is still awaited. Rawalpindi was scheduled to host the three ODIs on March 29, March 31, and April 2, and a one-off T20I on April 5; all these matches would now be played in Lahore.
Meanwhile, the Australian team is in Lahore to play the third Test – on 21 March- of a three-match series. Currently, the series is drawn on 1-1.
The opposition has presented a resolution of no-confidence to topple the ruling party’s government. The opposition submitted the vote of no-confidence because of the rising inflation and against the government’s mismanagement of the economy. Soon after the opposition staged a few protests in the capital, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed his party members to gather support for the “grand power show.” On March 14, Senator Faisal Javed Khan confirmed that the ruling party would be holding one of the biggest rallies in Pakistan on the 27 at Azadi Chowk Islamabad.
Hours after the announcement, the Pakistan Democratic Party called for its workers and supporters to march towards the capital on 23 March. The March would begin on 23 March and reach the capital the following day. The PDM leadership also urged their supporters to come prepared to stay in the capital until the voting is concluded.
International cricket in Pakistan:
The Australian cricket team returned to Pakistan after almost 24 years to play a series of matches in the country. The Aussies last toured the country in 1998 when it won the series by 1-0, and swept the ODI series by 3-0. Amidst tight security, the Australian team landed in Pakistan on the 27th of February and were escorted to their hotel in Islamabad. The team is scheduled to play one more test series in Lahore before moving towards a limited-over series and a T20 international.The first leg of the test series was played in the Rawalpindi stadium from March 4 to 8, after which the team flew to Karachi for their second test series.
The Australian team was initially apprehensive about traveling to Pakistan. International cricket had stopped in the country following the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus in Lahore in 2009. Gunmen opened fire on the bus when the cricket team was traveling from a hotel in Lahore to the cricket stadium, killing several security officers and injuring at least five Sri Lankan team members. The event was followed by a forced suspension of international cricket in the country. Six years after the incident, international cricket returned to the country, with Zimbabwe becoming the harbingers of International cricket’s return to Pakistan.