Pak to host BD, Eng and WI for Tests

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KARACHI:
Pakistan on Friday announced Test matches against Bangladesh, England and the West Indies — as well as a one-day tri-series — in a jam-packed schedule lasting until February next year.

Bangladesh will first visit Pakistan in August for two Tests, followed by three Tests against England in October and then two against the West Indies in January.

Following that, Pakistan will host a tri-series one-day in February in the build up to the eight-nation Champions Trophy tournament they will also host later in February and March.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Mohsin Naqvi — also the country’s serving interior minister — said the timetable shows the nation’s commitment to host international play.

Foreign teams did not play in Pakistan from 2009 to 2015 after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus, wounding seven touring players and killing eight people.

“These series are vital part of our strategy to strengthen Pakistan’s position in international cricket and ensure long-term sustainability for sport in the country,” Naqvi said in a statement.

With improved security, Pakistan has hosted major cricketing countries including Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa in the last four years.

The Champions Trophy tournament will be the first major cricket event in the country since it co-hosted the 1996 World Cup with India and Sri Lanka.

However, doubts remain whether neighbours India will make the trip across the border for the elite 50-overs tournament, which is being held for the first time since 2017. Thanks to their soured political relations, India have not visited Pakistan since 2008 and the cricket-mad countries play each other only at multi-team events. Pakistan hosted the Asia Cup last year but eventual winners India were allowed to play all their matches in Sri Lanka under what the organisers called a “hybrid model”. India said they did not get permission from their government to tour Pakistan for the Asia Cup last year.

The PCB said match dates for the competition — taking place from February 19 to March 9 — will be announced later.

England will tour Pakistan for the second time in two years after announcing a three-Test series in Multan, Karachi and Rawalpindi in October.

England made their first Test trip to Pakistan for 17 years in 2022 when Ben Stokes’s side won the series 3-0 at the same venues they will visit later this year.

Just a week after England’s home summer programme finishes on September 29, following their white-ball series against Australia, the first Test against Pakistan will start in Multan on October 7.

The Karachi Test gets under way on October 15, with the series concluding in Rawalpindi with a match beginning on October 24.

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive officer Richard Gould said: “We’re really excited to be returning to Pakistan for this three-match men’s Test tour in October.

“Our last men’s Test tour of Pakistan produced some memorable matches and I’m sure fans can look forward to more exciting cricket across this forthcoming series.”

England have three Tests against New Zealand scheduled for December and also have limited-overs assignments against the West Indies in November and India in the new year.

Pakistan’s home season 2024-25

Aug 21-25: First Test vs Bangladesh, Rawalpindi

Aug 30 – Sept 3: Second Test, Karachi

Oct 7-11: First Test vs England, Multan

Oct 15-19: Second Test vs England, Karachi

Oct 24-28: Third Test vs England, Rawalpindi

Jan 16-20: First Test against West Indies, Karachi

Jan 24-28: Second Test vs West Indies, Multan

ODI tri-series Feb 8: Pakistan v New Zealand, Multan

Feb 10: New Zealand v South Africa, Multan

Feb 12: Pakistan v South Africa, Multan

Feb 14: Final, Multan

Champions Trophy Feb 19 – Mar 9.

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