Australia will tour Pakistan for the first time in nearly 24 years when it plays three test matches, three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international next year, the Pakistan Cricket Board said Monday.
Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore are scheduled to host the three test matches in March and the limited-overs portion will be played in Lahore from March 29-April 5.
The test matches will be part of the World Test Championship. The ODIs will be counted toward World Cup Super League.
Mark Taylor led Australia to a 1-0 victory in the last test series it played in Pakistan in 1998. Since then Pakistan has hosted Australia four times at neutral venues in Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.
“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,” PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said in a statement.
“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.”
Pakistan was off-limits for hosting international cricket for almost a decade after the Sri Lanka team’s bus came under attack at Lahore in March 2009. Eight people were killed during the terror attack, and several Sri Lankan players were injured.
Pakistan also lost its status as a co-host for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
Sri Lanka was the first team to return for a test series, in December 2019 and was followed by Bangladesh and South Africa. Other teams have toured for the limited-overs series.
Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley acknowledged the efforts of the PCB in planning next year’s tour and said he looked forward to closing cooperation to finalize the operations, logistics, security and COVID-19 protocols.
“The safety and welfare of our players and staff remain our No. 1 priority,” Hockley said in a statement. “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.”
The PCB said a Cricket Australia delegation will visit Pakistan to meet with government officials and finalize arrangements.
Pakistan and Australia are set to meet in the semifinals of the ICC T20 World Cup in Dubai on Thursday.
Just before the T20 World Cup, New Zealand abandoned its limited-overs tour of Pakistan due to security concerns, and England also pulled out citing player welfare concerns.
Pakistan is set to host West Indies from Dec. 13-22 in three T20s and three ODIS between Dec. 13-22. It will be the West Indies’ first tour of Pakistan since April 2018 when it played three T20s.
March 3-7: 1st test at Karachi
March 12-16: 2nd test at Rawalpindi
March 21-25: 3rd test at Lahore
March 29: 1st ODI at Lahore
March 31: 2nd ODI at Lahore
April 2: 3rd ODI at Lahore
April 5: T20 at Lahore