Karachi: Pakistan’s hopes of playing in a proposed tri-series in South Africa later this month are slowly fading after lack of interest in the tournament from sponsors and broadcasters.
It is understood hosts South Africa have so far been unable to secure interest for the triangular series that had been proposed after Pakistan suffered the postponement of the Champions Trophy, called off after five of the eight competing teams voiced security concerns.
The idea of a three or four-nation tournament in to compensate had been proposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with Cricket South Africa (CSA) obliging.
Sri Lanka and India were also invited; however, while Sri Lanka accepted the invitation, India declined saying they wanted to stay focused for the all-important home series against Australia.
So far, the only progress made regarding the competition is the confirmation of the three other teams. Even the dates and the venues are yet to be finalised although competing teams had agreed to play on roughly the same dates as those scheduled for the Champions Trophy. The stumbling block has been the fact that Cricket South Africa has faced difficulties interesting sponsors and broadcasters, who have exhausted their sports’ budgets during the recent Olympic Games in Beijing.
The rising popularity of Twenty20 has also diminished sponsors’ interest in the 50-over format.
Pakistan are desperate for the series with their cricketers starved of first-class action this year.
"We are hoping that the tri-series will be held this month in South Africa," said Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB’s chief operating officer.
"There are some issues to be resolved but we are confident that everything will fall into place soon," he added.