England will undertake their first visit to Pakistan in 16 years when they will engage in a two-match T20I series in Karachi next year in October.
England's touring party will arrive in Karachi on October 12 before playing the two matches scheduled to take place on October 14 and 15. The team will then depart to India to take part in the 2021 T20 World Cup in India - the dates of which are yet to be finalised.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had initially invited the English cricket team for a short white-ball trip to the country towards the end of January 2021 but this was rendered unfeasible due to the packed international calendar.
England could possibly be playing a coronavirus-delayed Test series in Sri Lanka in January whilst several of their limited-overs specialists would be busy in their respective stints in Australia's Big Bash League.
In light of these constraints, the England Cricket Board (ECB) suggested pushing ahead the tour to October as a lead-up to the global T20 competition in India.
England last toured Pakistan in 2005 when they faced a 2-0 Test series defeat and lost the five-match ODI encounters 3-2.
They have since played their away series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates owing to the prevailing fragile security nation in the South Asian nation.
However, Pakistan has gradually welcomed the return of top-flight international cricket on its shores including staging the entirety of season five of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) across four venues in the country.
They most recently played three ODIs and three T20Is against Zimbabwe in Rawalpindi behind closed doors.
“I am delighted to confirm that England will be touring Pakistan to play two T20Is in October 2021. This will be their first visit to Pakistan for 16 years and will open the door for both Test and white-ball tours in the 2022-23 season," stated PCB chief executive Wasim Khan.
“The full-strength England squad will arrive at the backend of our home series against New Zealand. We also expect Australia to visit Pakistan for their FTP commitment in the 2021-22 season, with England returning for both Test and white-ball tours in the 2022-23 season," he added.
England's upcoming tour of Pakistan is seen as a gesture of gratitude for embarking on a Test and T20I trip to the United Kingdom during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ECB had praised the PCB for preventing the wipeout of England's international home season with a lot of former cricketers urging the board to confirm a tour to Pakistan in the near future.
“The October 2021 T20Is will allow the leading England cricketers to access and examine the world-class arrangements we will put together, which will give them further encouragement and confidence to not only return in 2022-23 but also express their interest in the Pakistan Super League, which has grown to become one of the top leagues in the world," Wasim claimed.
“England’s visit to Pakistan for the 14 and 15 October 2021 T20Is will provide a further lift to our passionate fans, both in Pakistan and across the globe. The nation has waited patiently for cricket to return sustainably to Pakistan and the 2021 tours by South Africa, New Zealand and England will only ensure international cricket is played uninterruptedly."
His ECB counterpart Tom Harrison said: “It’s a real pleasure to announce that the England men’s T20I squad will be playing in Pakistan in October 2021. This will be the first time since 2005 that an England team has toured Pakistan and, as such, it represents a significant moment for both nations.
“As was demonstrated this summer, we have a strong relationship with the PCB, and the ECB is delighted to be able to play our part in ensuring the safe return of international cricket to this wonderful nation of passionate cricket fans."