Cricket: Australia to tour Pakistan for first time in 23 years

The announcement is a huge boost for Pakistan after New Zealand and England cancelled tours citing security concerns.

Australia's David Warner poses for a photo with Pakistani fans during a cricket match [File: Action Images via Andrew Couldridge/Reuters]

Australia will tour Pakistan next year for the first time since 1998, with the visitors playing three Tests, three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and a Twenty20 match from March to April, says the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The announcement is a huge boost for Pakistan cricket after New Zealand and England cancelled tours in September citing security concerns.

“I am delighted to welcome Australia to Pakistan. From a personal point of view, it pleases me no end that we’ll be engaged in a three-test match series, connoisseurs delight,” PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said in a statement on Monday.

“Australia are one of the high-performing sides and them playing in our backyard for the first time after a gap of 24 years will be a special treat for the fans.

The Tests would be part of the World Test Championship, while the ODIs would be linked to the inaugural ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League.

The two teams will play Tests in Karachi (March 3-7), Rawalpindi (March 12-16) and Lahore (March 21-25), followed by the limited over matches in Lahore between March 29 and April 5.

The teams are also set to face each other in the T20 World Cup semi-final on Thursday.

Australia beat Pakistan 1-0 in a three-Test series the last time they toured the country. Pakistan have since played their home Tests against Australia in the United Arab Emirates.

International teams have largely refused to tour Pakistan since an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive Nick Hockley thanked the PCB for its “considerable efforts” in planning the tour, adding that the operations, logistics, security and COVID-19 protocols would be worked out over the coming months.

“The safety and welfare of our players and staff remains our number one priority, and we will continue to work with the PCB and relevant agencies to ensure that appropriate and sufficient arrangements are put in place for the tour,” he said in the statement.

West Indies are also touring Pakistan in December, playing three T20s and three ODIs.

Source: News Agencies