Ashraf Ali Siddiqui describes England tour Pakistan after 17 years
England tour Pakistan after 17 years although an earlier tour was canceled last year soon after New Zealand had abandoned its tour of Pakistan over security concerns. Dates for a seven-match Twenty20 series starting next month have already been announced, but an England squad will return for the long-awaited three-match Test series. The tour opens with the first Test in Rawalpindi on 1-5 December, before Multan hosts the second on 9-13 December. The third and final Test will be in Karachi on 17-21 December. The three fixtures will count towards the ICC World Test Championship. Pakistan is currently fifth in the table and England seventh.
England last toured in 2005, before Pakistan were forced to play international matches at neutral venues following an attack on the Sri Lankan team’s bus in Lahore in 2009. International cricket has gradually returned since 2015 but suffered another setback when New Zealand pulled out of a tour minutes before a one-day international was due to start in September last year, citing security alerts. A week later England scrapped tours to Pakistan by both its men’s and women’s teams. However Pakistan successfully hosted Australia for the first time since 1998 earlier this year.
The tour of England cricket tour in Pakistan will take place in two different time schedules. The first leg of England tour to Pakistan will begin on 20 September during which England will play seven Twenty20 Internationals in Karachi and Lahore in the first leg of their tour. After the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, England will return to play three Tests in December.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has worked hard to convince international teams to visit the country again and Australia this year undertook their first tour of Pakistan in 24 years. In this context it was pointed out that Pakistan and England test rivalry, which has historically produced close and tight matches, will return to Pakistan. Both the sides have evolved since they last played in Pakistan in 2005 and have recently been playing entertaining and exciting cricket. It is widely expected that this series will live up to the expectations of the global cricket fans who want to watch and enjoy competitive and thrilling matches. Clare Connor, Interim Chief Executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, called it a historic occasion. She added that they had been working closely with the PCB over recent months and that they are grateful to them for everything they have done, and continue to do, to restore the cricket ties.TW