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Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Abu Dhabi to hold Pakistan talks

By Joe Wilson

Sheikh Zayed stadium
The Sheikh Zayed stadium was opened in 2004 and boasts a 20,000 capacity

Abu Dhabi Cricket Association boss Dilwar Mani plans further talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board about having more games in the neutral venue.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are already due to host Pakistan's limited overs games against Australia next month, and New Zealand could go there later this year.

That could extend to England, who are scheduled to play four Tests and five one-day matches in Pakistan in 2010.

"The decision must be made between the two cricket boards," Mani told the BBC.

England are due to tour Pakistan in February and March next year, but in the wake of the attacks in Lahore it appears unthinkable that those matches will go ahead there.

Mani said he had not yet been approached about staging some of England's matches but told me he would be 'delighted' to step in as host.

''Should any country require our assistance and facilities we can make them available," said the chief executive.

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Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed stadium is well known to cricketers.

England trained there in December before their Test series in India and domestic teams regularly use it for pre-season preparation, with six counties due in Abu Dhabi later this month.

The stadium has generally been used for limited-overs matches but Mani assured me he had 'no doubt' the wicket and outfield would be suitable for staging a Test match.

Moreover, the ground is located several miles outside the centre of Abu Dhabi with a very modern road network linking it to the city.

Coaches can drive at speed right up to the stadium, and when I was there in December I was assured that virtually any level of security would be possible.

Those are exactly the considerations uppermost in the minds of cricket administrators right now.



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see also
Broad angry at security failures
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Pakistan cricket future in doubt
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Scots could host Pakistan matches
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Sri Lanka cricketers arrive home
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Pakistan president in gunmen vow
04 Mar 09 |  South Asia


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