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England to tour Pakistan in October 2021 after a 16-year gap

England to tour Pakistan in October 2021 after a 16-year gap

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that its men's team will visit Pakistan to play two Twenty20 matches in October 2021, it emerged on Wednesday.

This will be England's first tour to Pakistan in 16 years. England last visited Pakistan in 2005, when they played three Tests and five One-Day Internationals.

The brief tour will be held shortly before the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup, which will be held in India.

According to a press release issued today by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), England will arrive in Karachi on October 12. The teams will play two T20 matches — both of which will be held in Karachi — on October 12 and 14 before leaving for India for the World Cup on October 16.

The tour was confirmed by the PCB on Tuesday evening, PCB said.

PCB had invited England to visit Pakistan in January but ECB proposed that the tour takes place in October instead, citing the non-availability of top players.

Last month, PCB Chairperson Ehsan Mani had said that Australia and South Africa will also be visiting Pakistan after England.

“[England's tour] will be their first visit to Pakistan for 16 years and will open the door for both Test and white-ball tours in the 2022-23 season," PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan was quoted as saying by the PCB press statement.

“The full-strength England squad will arrive at the backend 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," he added.

Khan said that tours by top-ranked teams were a result of "nurturing relationships with various cricket boards and international players, as well as building trust and confidence". The PCB chief executive further said that England's visit will cement Pakistan's position as "safe and secure".

“This will be the first time since 2005 that an England team has toured Pakistan and as such it represents a significant moment for both nations,” ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom 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 of course the situation regarding the fast-moving and ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic.”

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner also expressed pleasure at the upcoming tour and said: "My goal since arriving in Pakistan has been to welcome the England Cricket Team back. 16 years of waiting is over, and I am delighted that England will play here in 2021."

Pakistan have hosted Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for Tests, and Zimbabwe for limited-overs matches since December 2019, having used Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi as home venues since the bus attack.

This year, the entire Pakistan Super League was also held in Pakistan.

With additional input from Reuters.

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