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LAHORE: The finalisation of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) and a concrete strategy on the proliferation of T20 franchise competitions are some of the salient topics which the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja and Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain will raise at next week’s ICC Annual Conference in Birmingham.

The confirmation of the FTP for the 2024-2031 cycles is the foremost priority for the cricket boards in order to develop clarity regarding the schedule of international teams and accordingly prepare for the assignments.

PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain said, “Finalizing the Future Tours Programme (FTP) is very important for us. This will give us certainty about which teams will be visiting us and which countries we will be touring. 80 per cent of the FTP has already been agreed upon and the remaining 20 per cent will be completed in the upcoming meeting. Secondly, the growth of franchise cricket is impacting the already crammed international cricket calendar. The PCB is concerned about this development and wants the ICC to formulate a strategy on this issue.”

Faisal said, “We have sent a proposal to the ICC, which they have added to their meeting agenda. Two other boards have also conveyed their apprehensions to the ICC on this matter and urged the ICC to create a working group to debate on the expansion of franchise-based T20 leagues. The annual conference presents a unique opportunity for networking with representatives of the world cricket. We are planning several initiatives that involve fellow members and meetings have already been set up on the sidelines with other boards to collectively enhance our common interest.”

It may be added that the recent political unrest in Sri Lanka has cast doubts over the island nation’s viability as the venue for the six-team Asia Cup next month. The final decision on any last-minute changes to the venue rests with the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).

Speaking on this matter, Faisal Hasnain said: “Our first preference is to support Sri Lanka and play the Asia Cup there. If this tournament does not take place in Sri Lanka, it will be a huge cricketing and financial loss for them. Australia’s recent tour of Sri Lanka went off without any problems. Similarly, there have been no issues with the ongoing Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka as we are constantly in touch with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and our embassy in the country. Our discussions with the ACC representatives have suggested that the tournament is on track at the moment as they are monitoring the situation very carefully and we will support their decision.”

The 50-over Asia Cup next year will be quite significant for us as it will be in preparation of our facilities and venues for the ICC Champions Trophy in 2025. Moreover, the Asia Cup will serve as a warm-up for the participating teams for the ICC Cricket World Cup later that year in India.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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