Pakistan have taken the first steps to relocating their home series away from the UAE after confirming all five matches of Zimbabwe’s tour will be held in Lahore.
The itinerary for Zimbabwe’s proposed tour next month means they will become the first Test playing nation to visit the South Asian country in six years.
All five matches — two Twenty20s and three one-day internationals — are to be played in the eastern city of Lahore after Cricket Zimbabwe (CZ) refused to play in Karachi.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said CZ had told the International Cricket Council (ICC) it would visit Pakistan between May 19 and June 1.
Since the infamous attacks in Lahore in March 2009, Pakistan have played most of their series in the UAE, with the emirates welcoming England, Australia, South Africa, and Sri Lanka in the intervening years.
“I am grateful to my counterpart in CZ, Wilson Manase, for acceding to our request of sending a full side on a tour to Pakistan,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said in a statement.
“This would be an auspicious moment for Pakistan cricket and I am positive that it would open doors of international cricket in Pakistan.
“I am indeed confident that Zimbabwe’s incident-free tour shall be the harbinger of more and more associate and full member nations visiting us in the months and years to come,” he added.
A Zimbabwean security team is set to come to inspect security arrangements in Lahore on May 4, the statement said.
Pakistan hopes the series will encourage other international teams to visit Pakistan.
Major sides have avoided the country since militants attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009, killing eight people and injuring seven visiting players.
Bangladesh have backed out twice after initially agreeing to tour, citing security fears, though Pakistan have managed to host minor teams Afghanistan and Kenya.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Hafeez hit a career-best 224 as Pakistan took charge of the first Test against Bangladesh with an impressive batting marathon during the third day’s play in Khulna on Thursday.
The tourists batted the entire day to move from their overnight score of 227 for one to 537 for five by stumps, a lead of 205 runs over Bangladesh’s first innings total of 332.
Hafeez, who started the day on 137, surpassed his previous best of 197, made in Pakistan’s previous Test against New Zealand in Sharjah last November.
May 19: Team Zimbabwe arrive
May 22: First Twenty20 international
May 24: Second Twenty20 international
May 26: First one-day
May 29: Second one-day
May 31: Third one-day
June 01: Team Zimbabwe departs
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