Pak-SL Tests to mark new era, to encourage int’l teams for full-fledged series ICC appoints match officials for Pakistan, Sri Lanka Test series

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Islamabad

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday confirmed umpire and match referee appointments for the ICC World Test Championship fixtures between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, to be played from 11 to 23 December — the Pakistan Cricket Board announced in a press release.
Andy Pycroft will lead the Playing Control Team for the opening Test in Rawalpindi from 11 to 15 December, which will also include Michael Gough and Richard Kettleborough as the on-field umpires. Richard Illingworth and Shozab Raza will be the third and fourth umpires respectively.
For the second Test in Karachi — set to be held between 19 and 23 December — Jeff Crowe will be the match referee, while on-field umpiring responsibilities will be shared between Bruce Oxenford and Joel Wilson. Gregory Brathwaite will be in the third umpire’s box and Ahsan Raza will be the fourth umpire.
Gough and Wilson will return to Pakistan after performing on-field umpires’ duties when Sri Lanka last played white-ball matches by umpiring in the Karachi ODIs.
Revival of the five-day (Pakistan-Sri Lanka Tests) games, scheduled next week in the country, has brought a glimmer of hope to the cricket fraternity that the day was not far when Pakistan would be hosting the international teams for full-fledged series and put an end to the decade-long drought of test cricketing.
Both sides would contest two Tests as part of the World Test Championship, with the first to be played at Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi from December 11 and the second to begin at National Stadium in Karachi on December 19. 
The Pakistani spectators have last seen test matches in Karachi Stadium some10 years back, when Pakistan and Sri Lanka met each other in February 2009.
Talking to APP, the batting legend, Javed Miandad who was brimming with joy for the revival of Tests in the country said “The Sri Lankan team’s visit to Pakistan would show the world that Pakistan was safe for all kinds of sports activities and the cricket lovers deserve to see the games at home.”
Miandad, who represented Pakistan in Tests and ODIs between 1975 and 1996, also commended the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for bringing back the longer format game to the country.“Sports are the only medium to bring people of different nations together” he remarked.
“Sportsmen are ambassadors of their countries and sports must not be involved with politics,” he said. Speaking about Pakistan’s chances in the two-match Test series, Miandad, who had scored 8832 runs in 124 Tests, said playing at home and the conditions would definitely benefit the green-shirts.
Former Test Cricketer Shoaib Mohammad believed the return of the longer-format game in the country would mark a new era for Pakistan cricket. “It will be great to see the Sri Lanka team playing two tests in Pakistan.
It would prove very beneficial for Pakistan cricket and the long awaited cricket-hungry fans who are impatiently waiting the return of test matches at home,” he remarked while talking to APP. Asian Bradman Zaheer Abbas who had two stints as captain of the national team in 1981 and 1984, also lauded the Sri Lankan team for touring Pakistan.—APP