The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) declared on Wednesday that South Africa’s cricket team will visit Pakistan early next year after a span of 14 years to play two ICC World Test Championship fixtures and three Twenty20 Internationals.
The Proteas will first arrive in Karachi on January 16, where they will commence the tour at the National Stadium with the first test from January 26-30. Their next destination will be Rawalpindi from Feb 8 for the second test and then Lahore, where three T20Is will be hosted on Feb 11, 13 and 14 at Gaddafi Stadium.
In the run-up to the first test in Karachi, the PCB said all Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be observed and the visitors would stay in isolation. When the team clears the isolation time, preparation and training sessions will meet daily schedules.
A fabulous news for Pakistan cricket and its fans is South Africa announcing a Pakistan tour and playing matches at the three main centres. Even though they last played here in 2007, South Africa is one of the most famous sides in Pakistan, but the fans have been closely watching their performances and are now looking forward to welcoming them,” said Zakir Khan, PCB International Cricket Director.
As a number of their star players visited Lahore with the ICC World XI in 2017, he said the South African squad had a’ special relationship’ with the nation of Pakistan.
Cricket South Africa Cricket Director Graeme Smith said, sharing his delight in the development:
It is satisfying to see so many nations, a proud, cricket-loving country, make a return to Pakistan. South Africa’s cricket is proud to be numbered among them.
As someone who visited the country back in my playing days on more than one occasion, I know how much enthusiasm the people of Pakistan have for the game, as well as the love and support the Proteas enjoy as a team there. “
Newly named Captain Babar Azam of Pakistan accepted the news and said he looked forward to the match.
“I am delighted that South Africa has confirmed their Pakistan tour and look forward to captaining my country in a home test for the first time at a venue where we recently won our maiden title in the HBL Pakistan Super League,” said Azam.
Azam said he was pleased that the Pakistan team would play more matches against “ranked above us” teams, and that it is “critical not only for our learning and growth, but also an opportunity to improve our rankings across all formats.
The statement comes a month after the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that for the first time since a deadly 2009 assault on a Sri Lankan team bus, the England team will tour Pakistan next year.
In a move hailed as ‘a landmark moment for both nations’ by ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison, England will play two T20Is in Karachi on Oct 14 and 15.
“It’s a real pleasure to announce that the England men’s IT20 squad will be playing in Pakistan in October 2021,” Harrison said in a tweet. This will be the first time a delegation from England has visited Pakistan since 2005 and as such, marks a crucial moment for both nations.