Pakistan to roll out red carpet for Canada

Chris Gayle. (AFP)

Chris Gayle. (AFP)

Norman Da Costa, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

It’s about the equivalent of an invitation to a royal wedding.

Canada has been invited to play a series of matches by Pakistan, one of the world’s most exciting Test-playing powerhouses.

The invitation, of course, came out of the blue and, if the tour materializes, it would give the Canuck players exposure they would normally only dream of.

Canada would also take part in a tri-series along with Afghanistan, the second-best associate country behind Ireland.

Ever since the deadly terrorist attack on visiting Sri Lanka in 2009, Pakistan has been blacklisted by Test nations despite government assurances teams will be protected to the hilt.

Last month Pakistan was on the verge of hosting Bangladesh, but that country postponed its tour citing security concerns.

PCB has now decided the best way to break this impasse is by hosting the minnows.

“PCB has thanked Cricket Canada for their interest in sending their national team to Pakistan,’’ said a PCB bulletin.

“We believe in strengthening the relationship between the two boards.’’

Since 2009, Pakistan has played all of its “home” matches in the United Arab Emirates.

UNREAL REQUEST

Last week it was all but confirmed that Chris Gayle, the world’s most exciting one-day cricketer, and the West Indies board had buried the hatchet and the opener would join the team during its current tour of England. Gayle went as far as pulling out of a contract with English club Somerset for the chance to wear the maroon colours of the Windies. But here comes a catch. The board wants Gayle to specify a date he can meet with it to ‘mop up residual matters’ following their spat that has lasted more than a year. Is this board for real? Gayle has already torn up a lucrative contract with Somerset and one wonders what else this board has up its sleeve? Gayle continues his hot streak in the IPL with 572 runs at an average of 57.20. Friday he slammed a quick-fire 57 (three fours and six sixes) off 31 balls to power Bangalore over Pune by 35 runs ... Rain has played havoc with the Windies’ preparations for the first Test next Thursday. But of even bigger concern will be the showing of their opening batsman Adrian Barath, who made eight and 14 versus England Lions. The tourists made a good recovery to reach 377 for eight for a lead of 183 with two wickets in hand Saturday. Kieran Powell made 108 with Darren Bravo and Shiv Chanderpaul scoring half centuries on the third of the four-day match as the tourists head for a loss. Lions made 341 in reply to the Windies’ first innings score of 147 ...

A Twenty20 match scheduled at the Rogers Centre Saturday involving an Asia XI and an International XI had to be

the best kept secret in

the city.

STUCK IN LIMBO

Mitchell Starc has endured a trip to hell and is still not back after being deported to Australia after his visa form was not correctly filled out. The 22-year-old fast bowler was detained at Heathrow and then sent home. But any hopes Starc entertained of making a quick return to England were foiled after he was stranded in Kuala Lumpur. Starc was signed up to play for Yorkshire. Each country has its own set of rules and regulations, but to boot out a sportsman on technical grounds and send him back all the way to Australia takes the cake. With the Olympics just around the corner, new super-tight regulations have gone into place. While our sympathies lie with Starc, the West Indies board should not expect any. West Indies flew into England more than 10 days ago with just 12 players. Assad Fudadin and Narsingh Deonarine spent seven days in Jamaica awaiting the necessary documentations. They were then detained for a further two hours by UK border control. The West Indies board was informed months ago what the visa requirements were and, of course, they sat on it.

THAW IN RELATIONS?

It appears there may be a thaw in the frosty relationship between arch-rivals India and Pakistan. India Saturday invited its neighbour to send a team to compete in the Champions League tournament later this year. Pakistan champion Sialkot was invited to the inaugural tourney in 2008, but that invitation was withdrawn following the terrorist attack in Mumbai that year. India then suspended all ties with Pakistan and that included barring all of its players from the IPL ... Sri Lanka’s fiery quickie Lasith Malinga will play for Middlesex in the Friends Life T20 competition. Malinga has been on fire for Mumbai Indians this season with 20 wickets from nine appearances. . ... Rohit Sharma became the latest to carve out a century (107) in the IPL off 60 balls to power Mumbai Indians to a 27-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders Saturday. The Indian board will hand out some $13 million (U.S.) to former national and domestic players for services rendered to the sport. The list is divided into seven categories with the top payments going to those who represented India 100 times. These include Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar who will receive $280,000 each. These millionaires could do with the extra cash.

THIS IS NO JOKE

Start lining up for tickets for this year’s World Twenty20 that have gone on sale on the ICC website. A cuppa tea will cost more than the quarter that will be charged for group Games. A burger and fries could be cheaper than the prices for the final that have been pegged from $2.50 and $45. This is no April Fool’s joke ... If these prices are beyond your reach you can watch the women’s World Twenty20 — to be played simultaneously — for free.


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