Proteas confirm historic tour to Pakistan ... the first in 14 years

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Mark Boucher (Gallo)
Mark Boucher (Gallo)
  • The Proteas have confirmed that they will tour Pakistan for the first time in 14 years.
  • The tour will take place over January and February next year and will comprise of two Test matches and three T20s. 
  • Cricket South Africa had sent over a security contingent to Pakistan before signing off on the tour.

There was good news on Wednesday after what has been a difficult few days for South African cricket with the confirmation that the Proteas will tour Pakistan for the first time in 14 years in 2021. 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has spent this week answering questions surrounding Monday's postponement of the ODI series against England following a number of coronavirus scares from within the Biologically Safe Environment (BSE) that had been set up between Cape Town and Paarl. 

England will leave the country on Thursday and the immediate concern for CSA is now their safe hosting of a two-Test series against Sri Lanka in Gauteng over December and January. 

Australia will then tour South Africa for three Tests over February and March but now it has also been confirmed that, in January, the Proteas will take on Pakistan in two Test matches and three T20s. 

The historic tour will see them play in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore - venues that are rich in history but that South African cricket fans will not have seen too much of in recent years. 

The tour will start on 26 January and end on 14 February.

While it is difficult to know what the global state of affairs surrounding the coronavirus will be during that time, the Proteas will arrive in Pakistan on 16 January and enter a quarantine period before training.

The two Tests will form part of the ICC Test Championship - the Proteas are currently eighth of nine teams on that log - while this will also be the first time the Proteas have played in a T20 series in Pakistan. 

"It's pleasing to see so many countries making a return to Pakistan - a proud, cricket-loving nation," CSA's director of cricket Graeme Smith said in a release. 

"As someone who has toured the country on more than one occasion back in my playing days, I know how much passion the people of Pakistan have for the game as well as the love and support that the Proteas enjoy there as a team.

"I would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the hospitality and transparency they showed our security contingent when they travelled over there a few weeks ago."

Smith expressed confidence in the Pakistan authorities to facilitate a safe environment for the Proteas. 

"South Africa confirming a tour to Pakistan and playing matches at the three major centres is fabulous news for Pakistan cricket and its fans," added Pakistan Cricket Board director Zakir Khan.

"South Africa is one of the most popular sides in Pakistan even though they last played here in 2007, but the fans have been following their performances closely and now look forward to welcoming them."

South Africa will become the fourth country to tour Pakistan in the last 15 months after Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

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