Pakistan are all set to play more than 120 matches, including 80 percent against strong teams under the new Future Tours Programme (FTP) which is being proposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Initially, Pakistan were scheduled to play around 104 matches across three formats, however, the figures were later increased to more than 120 following the ICC executive committee meeting held in Singapore earlier this month.
While confirming the news, a PCB official said that the country would play more matches with the strong teams and lesser matches against lowly outfits.
"Presently, we are in a good position as the PCB did not prefer to play matches against lowly teams like Afghanistan, Ireland, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Propaganda is being spread that Pakistan will play fewer matches while teams like Bangladesh, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan will play more matches, the Dawn quoted the PCB official, as saying.
The official further reveals that these four small teams will play more against each other; as a result, the number of their games will be comparatively more than Pakistan.
"In fact, these four [lowly] teams will compete more against each other. Therefore, the number [of their games] may be [comparatively] more. Whereas Pakistan will play 80 to 85 percent of their matches against strong teams and while remaining fixtures will be against average opponents like Bangladesh, Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe," he added.
The PCB official, however, clarified that the three-match T20 series against the West Indies at home in April 2018 and the PSL matches are not included in the FTP.
He further said that the PCB would only approve the new FTP after the dispute with India over the resumption of bilateral series is resolved.
"As the PCB has advised the ICC not to finalise the FTP until its Resolution Committee settles the issue between India and Pakistan over the resumption of their bilateral series, the game's governing body may announce the FTP early next year with a condition that Pakistan's matches will be subject to the resolution of the [bilateral series] issue between India and Pakistan," the official said further.
According to the new FTP, India will be hosting 81 matches across three formats of the game from 2019-2023, which is 30 more than the current programme.
The new FTP cycle at home will include high-profile series against England, South Africa and Australia, but no match against neighbours Pakistan.
In 2014, both - the BCCI and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) - signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which stated the two arch-rivals would play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.
According to the 2014 agreement, India was scheduled to play six series against Pakistan - four of them were going to be Pakistan's home series.
While the BCCI has repeatedly snubbed Pakistan's request for resumption of ties, the PCB wants its Indian counterpart to honour its commitment under the MoU signed, which is subjected to clearance from the Government of India.
Pakistan was expected to generate the bulk of revenue in these eight years from hosting India but since BCCI denied playing the series in wake of tension between the two countries, the PCB suffered huge financial losses due to it.
(With Agency Inputs)