The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its Future Tours Program (FTP) which indicates the Men in Green who have garnered a reputation as one of the world’s most exciting teams due to their mercurial and unpredictable nature, will play only 28 Tests and 38 ODIs in the four-year schedule running from May 2019 to May 2023.
Pakistan’s 28 Tests are the joint-lowest of the established Test sides alongside New Zealand, with only Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland playing fewer games.
Meanwhile, India will play 37 Tests, England play 46 and Australia play 40. Even Bangladesh, still considered as one of the minnows by many, play 35 Tests– 25% more than Pakistan.
Tests are not the only format in which Pakistan cricket fans can feel the pinch. Their 38 ODIs are the lowest of all teams, even lower than that of Afghanistan (41), Zimbabwe (40) and Ireland (42).
Again for comparison, arch-rivals India play 61 ODIs, West Indies play 62 and Sri Lanka play 48.
Pakistan also play 38 T20Is in the four years — also the joint-lowest of the established Test-playing nations. Even Ireland play six more T20Is, while India play 61, West Indies 55 and New Zealand play 49.
Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Arif Abbasi was incensed at the lack of matches given to Pakistan and alleged that the ICC are biased against the Men in Green.
“They have been wronging Pakistan for a while now,” he said. “It is very shameful that the team that has topped the ranking charts in various formats in 2017 and won the Champions Trophy has been given fewer matches than associate nations.”
Meanwhile, the PCB has made it clear it will do whatever it can to challenge the BCCI’s decision to not play any matches against Pakistan till May 2023.
(The original report appeared in The Express Tribune)