Lord's new Pakistani home?
Sydney - The "home" of cricket at Lord's, Edgbaston and Headingley could be possible venues for Australia's future Test series against Pakistan after the British government offered to act as a temporary host to the Pakistan team.
Britain's sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe made the offer to Pakistani officials on Tuesday after attacks on the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore effectively ended their chances of hosting matches in the foreseeable future.
Australia postponed their last tour of Pakistan, scheduled for 2008, until 2010 because of safety concerns.
There is no real hope of the Australians travelling to Pakistan in the near future but they have expressed their interest in playing the series at a neutral venue, with discussions turning to England.
"Pakistan has started the discussion about playing three Test matches at neutral venues in England in 2010," Cricket Australia spokesperson Peter Young told reporters on Wednesday.
"It's a work in progress, the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) is responsible for coming up with the arrangements, but in principle we've been comfortable and talking with them."
Any rescheduled matches in England would avoid clashes with the southern hemisphere's busy summer season and Young said there was also the bonus of both countries having large supporter groups in England.
"One of the downsides to neutral venues is quite often you don't get people turning up at the stadium because wherever you are, the locals don't have a home-team interest," Young said.
"But part of the theory is that there are a significant number of expatriate Pakistanis who, with appropriate marketing, might be encouraged to attend these games.
"Pakistan would still have kind-of a de facto home crowd advantage."