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England "committed" to short white-ball tour of Pakistan in early part of 2021
England tour of Pakistan

England "committed" to short white-ball tour of Pakistan in early part of 2021

England have confirmed receiving a formal invitation to visit Pakistan early in 2021 for a short white-ball series.

If England do go ahead with the historic tour, this would mark their first trip to the South Asian nation in over 15 years.

England last played in Pakistan in 2005/06 when they failed in both the Test and ODI series. A terrorist attack perpetrated by armed militants on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009 put an end to major international tours to Pakistan for a prolonged period.

In recent years, competitive cricket at the highest level has gradually returned to Pakistan with the arrival of Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, West Indies, Bangladesh and a World XI contingent featuring former England skipper Paul Collingwood.

"After discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), we can confirm the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has received an invitation in respect of a short white-ball tour to Pakistan during the early part of 2021," a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board read.

"We welcome the fact that international cricket is returning to Pakistan and are committed to doing what we can to help this develop further."

The ECB added that the board was prioritising the arrangement of Covid-19 secure 'bubbles' and the promise of foolproof security since they felt "the safety and welfare of our players and staff is paramount".

"We will be liaising with the PCB, and as well as other partners over the coming weeks to work through these considerations before a final decision will be taken in due course," the ECB claimed.

Earlier this summer, Pakistan followed the footsteps of West Indies to make a trip to England for three Tests and three T20Is despite Britain being one of the countries worst hit by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ECB has repeatedly expressed gratitude to their Pakistan counterparts as they said hosting the touring parties helped them prevent an estimated loss of $366 million in the event of no matches being held this season.

In response to this, Pakistan bowling legend Wasim Akram had remarked: "You (England) boys owe Pakistan cricket, and the country, a lot, with the boys coming over here."

The same month, Joe Root admitted "it would be a great opportunity to go and play there personally", and praised the passionate cricketing fan base in Pakistan.

England are originally set to tour South Africa next month but that campaign might not materialise due to the chaotic administrative crises befallen on the Proteas.

England's winter tours include a rescheduled Test visit to Sri Lanka that was supposed to take place in March and an India Test series.