Australia to tour Pakistan for full series in March 2022


Series will mark Australia’s return to the country for the first time since 1998

Australia are set to tour Pakistan for the first time in over 24 years, in March 2022. This frees up a window in February for Pakistan to host the PSL.

The series will comprise of three Tests, three ODIs and a one-off T20I. The matches will be held across Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore, which will host one Test each. The limited-overs leg will be held entirely in Lahore.

The Tests – starting on March 3 in Karachi – will be played as part of the ICC World Test Championship, while the ODIs will be connected to the ICC men’s 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.

“I am delighted to welcome Australia to Pakistan,” PCB chairman Ramiz Raja was quoted as saying in a Cricket Australia release. “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.

“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’s confirmation comes at a time when Pakistan have had to cope with multiple tour cancellations. In September, New Zealand left ahead of their limited-overs series over a security threat. England followed suit, citing player well-being and “increasing concerns about travelling to the region.”

A Cricket Australia delegation is expected to 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.

“We will work over the next three months, we’re going to be doing a [reconnaissance] over to Pakistan,” CA chairman Nick Hockley told AAP. “We will be working with all the relevant agencies to do our due diligence to make sure security programmes are in place.

“As is the case with any tour, the tour remains subject to all of those plans being in place. But certainly, there is really strong intent to want to go. International touring has resumed there. But as we always do, we will put the safety and well-being of players and staff as No.1 priority.”

Australia last toured Pakistan in 1998-99, a series remembered for Mark Taylor’s epic unbeaten 334 in Peshawar. Australia won the series 1-0, their first in the country since Richie Benaud’s side defeated Fazal Mahmood’s 2-0 in 1959-60.

Since 1998, however, Pakistan staged their last four home series against Australia overseas. The first of those (2002) was held in Sri Lanka and the UAE. The 2010 series was played in England while the other two were hosted entirely in UAE. The most recent series was held in 2018 with Pakistan winning 1-0.

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