Lahore and Karachi are likely to host England for seven T20Is, scheduled between September 15 and October 2, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja
has confirmed. ESPNcricinfo understands the ECB’s three-member security team is expected to arrive in Pakistan later this month to assess the security arrangements.
Though Pakistan have Multan and Rawalpindi as other venues to consider, Ramiz said that the schedule is “very tight and we can’t go elsewhere”. PCB is yet to announce the fixtures for the series, which will be the first instance of England touring Pakistan in 16 years. Following this series, Pakistan will depart for New Zealand on October 4 to participate in a T20I tri-series in Christchurch from October 7 to 14, involving Bangladesh as well. Following the T20 World Cup in October-November, England will return to Pakistan for a three-Test series in November as a part of the ICC World Test Championship.
The pitches have been relaid in Karachi and Lahore and are expected to be ready ahead of the series. The tour was originally scheduled to be played in Rawalpindi last October but England had called off their visit following New Zealand’s last-minute withdrawal
over a security threat.
However, England’s new white-ball captain Jos Buttler had said last week that he does not expect to have his best team available
for the series due to fixture congestion. England’s red-ball players are unlikely to be available at the start of the limited-overs series in Pakistan, with England’s third Test against South Africa due to finish on September 12.
The upcoming series carries significance as England have not toured Pakistan since 2005 and two of Pakistan’s home series in 2012 and 2016 were forced to be played in UAE. After England decided to withdraw their men’s and women’s teams’ tours to Pakistan last year, Raja hit out at cricket’s “western bloc”
. The ECB cited bubble fatigue bubble fatigue
and “increasing concerns about travelling to the region” to pull out of the series.