Zimbabwe continue to offer the likeliest possibility of international cricket returning to Pakistan, with the board indicating its willingness to help victims of the floods that have ravaged Pakistan.
After New Zealand cricket embarrased the PCB by denying a claim from officials that they were willing to play in Pakistan to help raise funds for flood victims, Peter Chingoka, chairman Zimbabwe Cricket, said his players were ready and willing to play in a country where no international cricket has taken place since March 2009, following the terror attacks on the touring Sri Lanka side.
The PCB revealed two days ago that talks were on with Zimbabwe even before the floods to arrange a series to mark the return of international cricket to Pakistan but the natural disaster now means that matches are likely to be played to raise funds. "At this point in time we just have one thing in mind and that is to help people and minimise their suffering for which we are ready to play in Pakistan," Chingoka told Express Tribune. "We sent the offer following approval from all the players who also want to play a role in helping millions of people in Pakistan."
Pakistan's packed schedule, however, means that no dates have yet been set. The side is due to play a full Test and ODI series against South Africa in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in October-November, soon after the end of the current tour to England in late September. Then they travel to New Zealand for the second time in two years - this time for the away series as opposed to 2009's 'home' series arrangement - for a series of two Tests, six ODIs and three T20s. That tour ends on February 5 and the World Cup begins exactly two weeks later.
"Both boards are working on a plan to finalise the schedule but so far it is undecided," Chingoka said. "Both boards are trying to hold a series soon and it may take place before the World Cup 2011."
Meanwhile, the Pakistan board didn't react to denials from NZC about the alleged offer to play a flood relief game in Pakistan. PCB officials continue to maintain privately that such an offer was hinted at in an email from Justin Vaughan, chief executive NZC, though they are unwilling to take it any further now. There was supposed to be an official PCB response on Monday to Vaughan's comments, but none came eventually.
Cricinfo does not usually endorse public donation efforts but the scale of devastation that the floods have caused in Pakistan constitutes exceptional circumstances. While we cannot take responsibility for any donations made, here are a couple of organisations you could consider if you are looking to help: