Cricket Australia Approves First Tour Of Pakistan In 24 years

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 05: Captains Aaron Finch of Australia and Babar Azam of Pakistan take part in the coin toss during game two of the International Twenty20 series between Australia and Pakistan at Manuka Oval on November 05, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

KARACHI- Cricket Australia on Friday approved its first tour of Pakistan in 24 years with a revised itinerary being announced by both the boards amid lingering security concerns.

Coming off a 4-0 Ashes victory against England at home, Australia will play three Tests -- in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore.

They will also play three one day internationals and a T20I during the full tour.

The opening Test match will be played from March 4-8 in Rawalpindi and the four white-ball matches are scheduled to be played from March 29 to April 5.

The tour will now start and end in Rawalpindi with the opening Test to be played from 4-8 March and the four white-ball matches to be played from 29 March to 5 April.

The second Test will be played in Karachi from March 12-16 and the third in Lahore from March 12-16.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Faisal Hasnain said: "We are pleased that the Cricket Australia Board has formally approved their side's five-week tour itinerary and confirmed that their best available players will visit Pakistan for the first time in 24 years.

"We are really excited to host Pat Cummins and his players, and look forward to a competitive series that will comprise three Tests, three ODIs and a T20I."

The tour comes as a huge boost for Pakistan, which was hit hard when New Zealand and England abruptly pulled out from their scheduled tour of the country last year over security concerns.

Top-flight international cricket did not take place in Pakistan for nearly a decade since the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.

"While Australia will arrive at the back of strong performances in their home series against England, our team has been playing excellent cricket resulting in our players sweeping the ICC Awards," Hasnain.

The schedule has been revised to ease logistical and operational challenges as well as to avoid Pakistan Day rehearsals, which usually commence in Islamabad in the second week of March.

The two cricket boards have also agreed that the Australia Test side will complete its isolation in Australia, before arriving in Islamabad on February 27 on a chartered flight. After a one-day hotel isolation, they will hold training sessions at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

Australia's white-ball players are expected to arrive in Lahore on March 24 following isolation in Australia. After a one-day isolation upon arrival, they will integrate with other members of the side and travel to Islamabad for the first ODI in Rawalpindi.

The Tests will be part of the ICC World Test Championship, while the ODIs are linked to the World Cup Super League from which the top eight sides, including hosts India, will qualify directly for the 2023 50-over World Cup.

Revised schedule:

27 Feb Arrival in Islamabad

4-8 Mar 1st Test, Rawalpindi

12-16 Mar 2nd Test, Karachi

21-25 Mar 3rd Test, Lahore

29 Mar 1st ODI, Rawalpindi

31 Mar 2nd ODI, Rawalpindi

2 April 3rd ODI, Rawalpindi

5 Apr one-off T20I, Rawalpindi

6 Apr – Departure.

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