New Zealand against Pakistan in Malaysia? Don't totally discount it as Pakistan face problems fitting in their international fixtures at their de facto home in the United Arab Emirates.

New Zealand are due to tour the UAE in October, for three tests, three ODIs and three T20s against Pakistan. They will be New Zealand's first overseas tests since playing three in India in late 2016.

However the Pakistanis have a looming dilemma with burgeoning T20 leagues and international commitments threatening to clash.

Sharjah is a popular location for various T20 leagues, including the new Afghan T20 League which coincides with Pakistan's schedule against Australia and New Zealand in October-November. Those tours involve a total of five tests, at least five ODIs and some T20s.


The Emirates Cricket Board, who have had a good relationship with Pakistan since stepping in to offer a home when the terror attack in early 2009 in Lahore removed Pakistan as an international venue. The UAE has also hosted numerous ODI tournaments dating back to the 1980s, of which Pakistan — and prominent players who were treated to testimonial arrangements to give them a financial bonus — benefitted as a makeshift host.

But if Pakistan's cricket board are planning to switch New Zealand to Malaysia, then it's news to New Zealand Cricket.

"We've had no communication from then on that, so you know as much as me," NZC chief executive David White said today.

"I don't think there's any point in speculating until they do come to us."

Malaysia has been an associate member of the International Cricket Council since 1967, and is hardly a hotbed of top cricket. It did host a tournament at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, which wasn't a raging success.

But the squash of programmes in the UAE — which uses Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah as international host locations — means something has to give, hence the Malaysia issue being floated.

"I am going to Malaysia to explore the prospects for at least shifting our Australia and New Zealand series if they insist on denying the Sharjah facility to us during the Afghan League," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi said.

"Nothing is certain right now. I am going to look at all the options and try and persuade them to shift their dates if possible, so that there is no conflict."

New Zealand are also planning to send an A team to the UAE, likely starting shortly before the full tour, mimicking the arrangements in India late in 2016.

"We will have regular A tours as part of the future. It's a big part of our planning going forward," White said.

The expectation is two A tours each calendar year, one home and one away.

"There will be promising players, but there might be the odd fringe Black Cap," White added.