Lord’s, Edgbaston and the Oval vying to host first India-Pakistan Test since 2007

Indian Sachin Tendulkar, foreground, walks ahead of the Pakistan team after India won the first cricket test match in New Delhi, India, Monday, Nov. 26, 2007
Pakistan toured India in 2007 – the hosts won the three-match series 1-0 - AP Photo/Gurinder Osan

English grounds are queuing up to host a potential Test series between India and Pakistan in the country, with Lord’s, the Oval and Edgbaston all known to be keen on hosting matches between the two rivals.

Last week, India captain Rohit Sharma said it would be “awesome” to play against Pakistan in a Test series overseas, declaring “I would love to” play fixtures against their neighbours.

England would be an obvious leading contender as a potential neutral host if bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan resumed. India last played a Test match against Pakistan in 2007. The Indian government does not currently sanction bilateral fixtures against Pakistan. India now only play Pakistan in global tournaments, like the World Cup and T20 World Cup, and the Asia Cup.

Lord’s would be keen to host an India-Pakistan Test match in the future if the fixture was allowed to be played at a neutral venue. With India versus Pakistan one-day international and T20 matches attracting global broadcasting audiences of several hundred million, a Test fixture between the nations would also be a significant boost for the five-day game around the world.

Pakistan's Hasan Ali in action with India's Ravindra Jadeja before getting caught out by Shubman Gill
Meetings between the two countries over the last 17 years have been confined to ICC tournaments - Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

Representatives from Surrey and Warwickshire also told Telegraph Sport that they would be eager to host an India-Pakistan Test in the future. “We would definitely be open to exploring that,” said Steve Elworthy, Surrey’s chief executive.

Stuart Cain, chief executive of Warwickshire, believes that hosting the two nations would be a boon for cricket at Edgbaston.

“We’d be hugely supportive of the proposal,” he said. “It would be fantastic for the region and the many Pakistan and India fans who live in the West Midlands.” Around 4,000 tickets sold in the first 24 hours for the India against Pakistan match in the World Championship of Legends in July, indicating the demand to see the two countries compete in any form.

If India-Pakistan matches were staged in England, it would help ensure that there were more major games to share between venues in the country. In 2027, there are no men’s Ashes Tests staged north of Nottingham. Edgbaston is not scheduled to host any Test in the summer of 2030.

England has also hosted a small number of neutral men’s Tests in recent years, which have generally attracted good crowds.

Next year, Lord’s will host the World Test Championship final, which is highly unlikely to feature England and so will be a neutral fixture. The last neutral Test match it hosted was  Pakistan’s Test against Australia in 2010. The Utilita Bowl and the Kia Oval hosted the 2021 and 2023 World Test Championship finals, neither of which involved England. Last year’s World Test Championship final, pitting India against Australia, was virtually sold-out.

“It’ll be a good contest especially if you play overseas conditions,” Rohit told the Club Prairie Fire podcast last week about the prospect of playing Tests against Pakistan at a neutral venue. “They’re a good team. They have got a superb bowling line-up.

“At the end of the day, we want to be in contest and I think it will be a great contest between the two sides. We anyway play them in ICC trophies, so it doesn’t really matter. It’s just pure cricket that I’m looking at. I’m not interested in anything else. It’s pure cricket, game between bat and ball. It’ll be a great contest.”

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