England's first tour of Pakistan in 17 years will begin on September 20, as the men's team play seven T20Is in Karachi (the first four) and Lahore (the last three). The last game is on October 2 before England travel to Australia for the men's T20 World Cup. They are scheduled to return to Pakistan for a series of three Tests in December - their first Tests in Pakistan since the 2005-06 tour.
In what the PCB called Pakistan's "bumper international season", they will also host New Zealand in two spells, first for two Tests and three ODIs in December-January, and then for five ODIs and five T20Is in April next year. West Indies will also tour Pakistan for three T20Is in late January. In a statement, the PCB said that the itineraries for England's Test series as well as the matches against New Zealand and West Indies would be released "in due course".
The series will be the second of seven T20Is or more, with the encounters between the Malawi and Mozambique men's teams in 2019 the only previous instance of such a long bilateral series.
Next year, Pakistan are also scheduled to host the Asia Cup for the first time since 2008. Pakistan were originally due to host the T20 Asia Cup this year, but swapped with Sri Lanka - the 2022 Asia Cup starts at the end of August and has moved to the UAE. But the 50-over version is due to now take place in Pakistan next year - most likely in the run-up to the 50-over World Cup, which takes place in India in October-November. This year's Asia Cup moved to the UAE (though SLC remains the host), following concerns about the SLC's ability to host a multi-nation tournament of this stature in the midst of the country's economic and political crisis.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo in early July, Karachi's National Stadium will host T20Is against England on September 20, 22, 23 and 25, before the action shifts to Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium for the matches on September 28 and 30, and October 2. All the matches are floodlit affairs, starting at 7.30pm Pakistan time.
"We are absolutely delighted to confirm hosting England for seven T20Is in Karachi and Lahore as a curtain-raiser to a busy, entertaining and exciting season of home internationals," Zakir Khan, PCB director of international cricket, said in a statement. "England is one of the top-ranked T20I teams and them playing the shortest format in the lead up to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Pakistan will not only help the team management to finalise their preparations, but will also set the tone for December's three-Test series."
A three-member ECB security-assessment team visited Pakistan to take stock of the arrangements in late July. The team went back satisfied enough to green-light England's first tour of Pakistan in 17 years.
"We demonstrated our event planning and operational skills in the highly-successful series against Australia in March-April and I am confident we will be able to replicate these when England visit us for the first time since 2005," Zakir said. "We have been able to confirm schedule of the T20Is following a successful tour by the England and Wales Cricket Board recce team, which was pleased and satisfied with all our arrangements."
England have not toured Pakistan since 2005, and two of home Pakistan's home series against them, in 2012 and 2016, were played in the UAE. England also chose to withdraw their men's and women's teams' tours to Pakistan last year citing "bubble fatigue" and increasing concerns about travelling to the region". This came soon after New Zealand had withdrawn their men's team, citing similar concerns.
"We are looking forward to returning to Pakistan and playing these seven T20Is as the team builds up to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup," Rob Key, the ECB's managing director of men's cricket, said. "We have been liaising closely with the PCB over arrangements for this visit and the Tests later in the year, and will continue to work closely with the PCB, British High Commission and other relevant authorities as we continue to prepare for these tours.
"We would like to thank the PCB and the city authorities for all their ongoing assistance with planning for the tours, including hosting the recent pre-tour planning visit by ECB representatives and the PCA CEO."