Australia to tour Pakistan after 24-year absence

Monday, 8 November 2021 (16:46 IST)
Australia's cricketers are scheduled to visit Pakistan in March next year, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Monday.

The tour will end Australia's decades long absence from the South Asian country. The side last toured Pakistan in 1998.

Where will Australia play in Pakistan?

The team is set to play three tests, three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match from March to April next year.

The matches will take place in Karachi, Lahore and the city of Rawalpindi located just south of the capital, Islamabad.

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja hailed the tour as "a special treat for the fans."

"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," he said.

Why has Australia not toured Pakistan since 1998?

The scheduled tour of 2002 was moved to Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates following a suicide bombing in Karachi.

Another terror attack, this time targeting the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, put international cricket matches on hold in 2009. The shooting killed six policemen and two Pakistani civilians, while several Sri Lankan players were injured.

The attack also cost Pakistan its co-host status for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and its team was forced to play its "home" games in neutral venues outside the country.

Are other cricket teams planning to tour Pakistan?

Sri Lanka was the first team to return for a test series in December 2019. However, many sports officials are still uneasy with their teams playing in Pakistan.

In September, New Zealand cancelled a planned Pakistan tour on security grounds, followed by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

On Monday, Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said his organization was working with their Pakistani colleagues to " ensure that appropriate and sufficient arrangements are put in place."

"The safety and welfare of our players and staff remains our number one priority," he said.

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