The Pakistan Cricket Board has invited England for a three-match T20 International series in January next year, PCB CEO Wasim Khan has revealed. England have not played in Pakistan since the 2005-06 season when the team toured for a Test and one-day series.
“Yes, we have now sent an official invitation to the ECB inviting them to send their team and have also created a window between 13 and 20 January to play the three T20 series,” Khan told a Pakistani channel.
Khan made it clear that the short tour was not related to Pakistan touring England this summer for a Test series despite the COVID-19 threat. “When we took the decision of sending the team to England, we were worried because of the COVID-19 and bio-security bubble situations and some people also voiced their concerns that might be putting our players into a health risk,” Khan conceded.
“It wasn’t easy for us when some 10 players tested positive prior to leaving for the tour,” he recalled. “But we sent the team because we felt that it was imperative to resume cricket activities and the resumption of world cricket depended on how well the bio-secure bubble worked in the series.”
Khan said it is up to the England Cricket Board to assess the situation and take a call on the invitation. “We never discussed a return tour at that time but now we have invited the ECB to send their team and now it is up to them to assess the security, COVID-19 situations before reaching a decision,” he said.
“We are very confident they will come and if that happens it will be great for Pakistan cricket as it will open the doors for other top teams like Australia and New Zealand to also come to Pakistan.”
Pakistan have already invited Cricket South Africa in January-February next year to play two Tests and a three-T20 series. Pakistan will be hosting Zimbabwe for a white-ball series in Rawalpindi and Lahore in November and Khan said it was high time that top teams started touring the country.
Test teams have avoided playing in Pakistan since 2009 when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. But in the last two years, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have played Test matches and white-ball cricket in the country. The entire Pakistan Super League’s fifth edition was also held here early this year for the first time since its launch in 2016.