Australia cricket team confirms first Pakistan tour in 24 years

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The Australian cricket team will tour Pakistan for the first time in 24 years this March following approvals from both governments, Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed Friday.

Australia, who last toured Pakistan in 1998, will play three tests, an equal number of one-day internationals and one T20 match between March 4 and April 5.

“I would like to thank the PCB and both the Pakistan and Australian Governments for ensuring the tour will proceed for the first time in 24 years,” CA chief executive, Nick Hockley, said in a statement.

“This is a historic occasion and important for the global growth and health of the game. We are looking forward to an exciting series between two world-class teams.”

Top teams have largely shunned Pakistan since an attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians.

“We are pleased that the Cricket Australia Board has formally approved their side’s five-week tour itinerary and confirmed that their best available players will visit Pakistan for the first time in 24 years,” Hockley’s Pakistani counterpart Faisal Hasnain said.

“This braces for a keenly contested series, something that the fans will thoroughly enjoy and remember for a long time,” added Hasnain, pointing to the teams’ strong performance in recent times.

The tour begins on March 4 with the opening test in Rawalpindi, which also hosts the entire white-ball leg of the series ending with a one-off T20 game on April 5.

Test captain Pat Cummins was convinced most frontline Australia players would travel to Pakistan.

“I think we’ll get close to a full-strength squad,” Cummins told local media Thursday.

“There is still a little bit of work to do. We have received a lot of information and it has been great. All the pre-tour security and bio-security work has been done and it’s been fantastic.”

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