KARACHI: England will make their first trip to Pakistan in 16 years for a two-match T20 International series next October as part of a reciprocal agreement reached between the two cricket boards.
The two games, to be held in Karachi on October 14 and 15, will form part of the build-up ahead of the T20 World Cup that will begin the same month in India.
Both the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and its counterparts from Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed that the tour will take place just before the mega event.
England were invited by the Pakistan Cricket Board to visit in January next year but unavailability of top players and matters related to costs forced the ECB to reschedule their visit.
“I am delighted to confirm that England will be touring Pakistan to play two T20Is in October 2021,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said.
“The full-strength England squad will arrive at the back-end of our home series against New Zealand. We also expect Australia to visit Pakistan for their FTP commitment in the 2021-22 season, with England returning for both Test and white-ball tours in the 2022-23 season.”
Khan was confident that the October visit will be an opportunity for leading England cricketers to “access and examine the world-class arrangements”.
“This will give them further encouragement and confidence to not only return in 2022-23 but also express their interest in the Pakistan Super League.”
England will arrive in Karachi on October 12, and both the sides will depart for India on October 16 for the ICC T20 World Cup.
England last toured Pakistan in 2005 when they played three Tests and five one-day internationals. The subsequent series between the two sides in 2012 and 2015 were played in the United Arab Emirates.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “It’s a real pleasure to announce that the England men’s T20I squad will be playing in Pakistan in October 2021.
“This will be first time since 2005 that an England team has toured Pakistan and, as such, it represents a significant moment for both nations.”
In a way, England are returning the favour after Pakistan toured the Old Blighty after restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic were lifted earlier this year.
“As was demonstrated this summer, we have a strong relationship with the PCB, and the ECB is delighted to be able to play our part in ensuring the safe return of international cricket to this wonderful nation of passionate cricket fans,” Harrison said.
“As always, the safety and welfare of our players and staff will be paramount.
“We are working closely with the PCB to ensure all the necessary plans are in place, especially concerning the anticipated levels of security around the team, the proposed travel protocols and the situation regarding the ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The two-match series will serve as ideal preparation for the England team leading into an ICC T20 World Cup taking place in India during October and November 2021.”