ISLAMABAD (AP) — New Zealand will tour Pakistan for the first time in 18 years when it plays three one-day internationals and five Twenty20 matches beginning in September.
New Zealand last toured Pakistan in 2003 for a five-match ODI series while the tourists last played a test match in Pakistan in 2002.
International tours to Pakistan have been affected by concerns over player safety. In May 2002, New Zealand abandoned its test series in Pakistan after a suicide bomb attack outside their Karachi hotel. In 2009, the Sri Lanka national team’s bus was attacked near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
“With leading cricket playing countries resuming their tours to Pakistan in 2019 . . . the series against New Zealand will prove to be a catalyst in rejuvenating our talented youngsters while attracting new fans to the game that has the most passionate following in the country,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement on Thursday.
With the T20 World Cup scheduled for the United Arab Emirates in October, Khan said New Zealand Cricket had accepted PCB’s request to play five T20s.
“These (matches) will not only provide extra games to both the countries as part of their T20 World Cup preparations, but will also allow New Zealand players to spend extra days in Pakistan, familiarize with our culture and enjoy our hospitality,” Khan said.
Rawalpindi will host the three ODIs on Sept. 17, 19 and 21 while Lahore will host all the five Twenty20s in between Sept. 25 and Oct. 3.
New Zealand will arrive on Sept. 11 and after remaining in room isolation until Sept. 14 it will have two days of practice and an intra-squad match.
“We’re very much looking forward to returning to Pakistan for the start of their home international season,” NZC Chief Executive David White said in the statement. “It’s great that, after such a difficult time for Pakistan, international cricket is again being played in the country.”
The PCB has termed 2021-22 cricketing season as a “bumper” year with New Zealand tour followed by England’s two Twenty20s in Pakistan before the T20 World Cup. West Indies is expected to tour Pakistan in December while Australia will undertake a full tour to Pakistan in next February and March.
The ODI series is part of ICC’s Super League with Pakistan having 40 points from nine games and New Zealand won all its three ODIs. The seven top-ranked teams from the Super League and the World Cup host India will progress directly for the World Cup in 2023.
New Zealand tour schedule:
ODIs at Rawalpindi: Sept. 17, Sept 19, Sept 21.
T20s at Lahore: Sept. 25, Sept. 26, Sept. 29, Oct. 1, Oct. 3.