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The legal dispute between the PCB and the ICC has apparently reached a conclusion, with agreement seemingly reached on an out-of-court settlement. The Pakistani board look set to drop their legal action over the security-influenced decision to deny them their share of 2011 World Cup hosting rights, with chairman Ijaz Butt (“possibly the worst PCB chief ever“, in at least one person’s opinion) claiming that they will receive the full hosting rights fee (around $10.5m) as well as “a substantial amount” of compensation from the ICC.

Interestingly, the issue of Pakistan travelling to play in India is still unresolved, with Butt saying that his team will only travel if Pakistan’s government allows it, otherwise “the World Cup could be affected or cancelled“, which shows at least that no-one at the PCB is guilty of underestimating Pakistan’s importance to the competition. I don’t remember Nasser Hussain and company worrying about the possibility of the 2003 competition being cancelled because England wouldn’t travel to Zimbabwe (although admittedly that competition hardly suffered for their loss in the way a subcontinental World Cup would without Pakistan).

Here’s hoping all the politics get sorted out well in advance of the cricket.

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The ECB have announced that Pakistan will play two Tests and two Twenty20 matches (no ODIs, interestingly) against Australia in England (and possibly Wales – the venues are yet to be confirmed) next July.

Previously, hosting matches in England had been considered too expensive for the PCB, but that obstacle seems to have been overcome. English fans (as well as UK-based Aussies or Pakistan fans) can now look forward to Afridi vs Johnson and Gul vs Ponting at a ground near them.

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Pakistan’s international matches against Australia in 2010 may be held in Ireland or Scotland, as hosting matches in England looks set to be ‘too expensive’ for the PCB.

This seems like it would be a shame for the many thousands of expatriate Pakistani cricket fans (or, perhaps more accurately, cricket fans of Pakistani extraction) in Yorkshire or Lancashire, but it would undoubtedly be a huge boost for the Irish and Scottish cricket authorities to have a Test nation based within their jurisdiction.

Personally, I’d love to see Pakistan play at Old Trafford, but it would also be great to see them playing in the British Isles, regardless of how close it is to where I live.

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PCB vs ICC

The PCB are set to take legal action against the ICC following the latter’s decision to move the 2011 World Cup out of Pakistan, which itself followed the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team that was touring Pakistan at the time.

The PCB claim that the decision was ‘legally flawed’ and ‘disriminatory’. It’s hard to sympathise with Pakistani cricket’s establishment when it continues to blame the world at large for problems which clearly originate within the country. To expect international cricketers to play a World Cup in a country which has some regions effectively in a state of civil war, and in which a touring cricket team has been specifically targeted by terrorists, is plainly unreasonable. To blame the ICC is at best a distraction and at worst self-delusion.

That said, my sympathy is with Pakistani cricket fans, who are the losers in all of this whatever happens.

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The PCB

Pakistani senator Enver Baig has claimed that the Pakistan Cricket Board is being run ‘like a grocery shop‘. But which one?

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It seems that the two Pakistans may be on a collision course – Inzamam ul Haq, of the Lahore Badshahs, has challenged his former teammates to a match. Whilst this sort of thing is guaranteed to make headlines and get people excited, I can’t really see the PCB agreeing to such a match, given their hostility to the ICL.

Nevertheless, it is an interesting idea, and there’s certainly an appetite for a confrontation between the two sides amongst Pakistani fans. If nothing else, the TV companies will be salivating.

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Mohammad Yousuf has become the latest high-profile player to be banned from international cricket due to playing in the ‘rebelIndian Cricket League.

Quite possibly, Yousuf has been harbouring a grudge against the official not being picked in the first IPL auction. Or maybe he’s suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and one of his personalities wants to play in the ICL, whilst the other wants to play for Pakistan.

What is certain is that Pakistan will miss him, as will the fans.

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