Following the recent pullouts by England and New Zealand over security concerns, Australia has agreed to tour Pakistan for the first time in 24 years for a complete series next year, delivering a much-needed shot in the arm for Pakistani cricket. Australia will play three Tests in Pakistan as part of the World Test Championship at Karachi (March 3-7), Rawalpindi (March 12-16), and Lahore (March 21-25). The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Monday that four white-ball matches will be played in Lahore from March 29 to April 5.

Due to a security threat, New Zealand, who were already in Pakistan, returned home without playing a game, and soon after, England announced they would not be touring the country ahead of the T20 World Cup, putting the PCB’s efforts to bring high-quality international cricket to the country in jeopardy.

Australia’s visit to Pakistan is a major victory for PCB president Ramiz Raja, who had not expected the Australians to tour after England and New Zealand withdrew. England was strongly chastised for not touring the country.

In a statement, Raja remarked, “It pleases me no end that we’ll be involved in a three-Test match series, connoisseurs pleasure. Australia is one of the best teams in the world, and seeing them play in our own backyard for the first time in 24 years will be a great pleasure for the fans. Similarly, it will be a fantastic opportunity for Australian cricketers to not only play at iconic venues in Australia, but also to experience and enjoy the respect, love, and hospitality that this wonderful country has to offer, something that most of their previous generation of cricketers missed out on by playing overseas “he stated.

Cricket Australia’s chief executive, Nick Hockley, stated that they will continue to cooperate with the PCB to secure their team’s safety.

“We appreciate the PCB’s efforts in preparing the tour, and we look forward to working closely with them in the coming months to finalise the essential operations, logistics, security, and Covid-19 guidelines. Our players’ and staff’s safety and well-being remain our first priority, and we will continue to work with the PCB and other relevant agencies to ensure that adequate and sufficient provisions are made for the tour,” he said.