PCB hopeful of South Africa touring Pakistan within 12 months

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Jun
1

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The PCB is hopeful that South Africa will tour Pakistan within the next 12 months.

ESPNcricinfo understands that PCB managing director Wasim Khan recently extended an invitation to CSA. South Africa have not toured Pakistan since 2007 though captain Faf du Plessis led a World XI side to Lahore in September 2017.

It is unclear what format the tour could take, but it seems likely that Pakistan would accept any amount of cricket – perhaps two or three limited-overs games – as part of a longer itinerary that could be completed in the UAE.

Pakistan has hosted little international cricket since the terror attacks of March 2009 upon the Sri Lanka team and its convoy, though that has been steadily increasing. Zimbabwe played T20I and ODI cricket in the country (in May 2015), the World XI played three T20Is (in September 2017), Sri Lanka played a one-off T20I (in October 2017) and West Indies played four T20Is in April 2018 in Karachi. But, on the whole, Pakistan have been obliged to use venues in the UAE as their home from home in recent times.

The number of foreign players visiting the country is steadily increasing, though. With more PSL games taking place in Pakistan, the PCB hope the prospect of playing there is becoming normalised and that it will, in time, lead to increased confidence from international teams.

South Africa, it is understood, have not yet committed to the tour.

The PCB also remain hopeful that England may return to Pakistan in 2022. England are scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs against Pakistan at the end of that year but have not visited the country since the end of 2005. While it seems most unlikely the entire tour
will take place in Pakistan, PCB officials are hopeful that at least two or three ODIs could be held in the country.

The ECB executive are understood to be supportive in principle of the aim of seeing more international cricket return to Pakistan, but their decisions are sure to be governed by the advice of security experts. It is also understood there are, at present, significant reservations
from players and their representatives.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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