Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday announced that Australia will commence their maiden tour of Pakistan since 1998, when they play three Tests, three ODIs and one T20I in March-April next year.
The Tests will take place in Karachi (March 3-7), Rawalpindi (March 12-16) and Lahore (March 21-25), while Lahore will be the venue for the four white-ball matches to be played from March 29 to April 5.
The Tests will be played as part of the ICC World Test Championship, while the ODIs will be connected to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League — a 13-team event from which the seven highest-placed sides and the hosts, India, will qualify directly for the event proper in 2023.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja, who played eight Tests and 18 ODIs against Australia, said in a statement on Monday that, “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.
“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,” said Raja.
“Likewise, it will be a great opportunity for the Australia cricketers to not only play at our iconic venues but also feel and enjoy the respect, love and hospitality that this great country offers, something which most of their previous generation of cricketers missed out by playing offshore.”
Cricket Australia Chief Executive Nick Hockley said, “Cricket Australia is excited about the prospect of touring Pakistan next year for what will be a highly anticipated series in a country so incredibly passionate about the game and their national team.
“Pakistan is a formidable opposition with an exceptionally talented team, as evidenced by their dynamic performances in the current ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE.
“We thank the PCB for their considerable efforts in planning for the tour and look forward to continuing to work closely over the coming months to finalise the necessary operations, logistics, security and Covid-19 protocols.
“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.
“As part of the reconnoitring process, Cricket Australia’s delegation will visit Pakistan to meet with PCB officials as well as provincial and federal authorities to discuss and finalise matters relating to team operations, logistics, security and Covid-19 protocols,” the PCB statement said.
Australia last toured Pakistan in 1998/99 when Mark Taylor led them to a 1-0 series victory — their first since Richie Benaud’s side defeated Fazal Mahmood’s team 2-0 in the 1959-60 series. Between the two series, Pakistan hosted Australia in 1964-65 (drew 0-0), 1979-80 (won 1-0), 1982-83 (won 3-0), 1988-89 (won 1-0) and 1994-95 (won 1-0).
Pakistan staged the last four series with Australia offshore — 2002/2003 (Colombo and Sharjah, Pakistan lost 3-0), 2010 (drew 1-1 in England), 2014/15 (won 2-0 in the UAE) and 2018/19 (won 1-0 in the UAE).