PCB optimistic about England Lions touring Pakistan next winter

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KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is hopeful that an England Lions squad will tour Pakistan next winter. It has been reported that PCB’s managing director Wasim Khan is engaged in discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), with the hope that a successful Lions tour can act as a precursor to a full international tour down the line. England last toured Pakistan in 2005-06, while the most recent ‘A’ tour there was in 1995-96. Pakistan has hosted several international games in the last five years, having spent almost ten years playing ‘home’ games in the UAE. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have both toured in the 2019-20 season, including the first three Tests played in the country since the terror attacks in Lahore in 2009.

Asked after a Multan Sultans game if he thought England would tour Pakistan soon, Moeen Ali said: “I hope so, inshallah. It’s something that I’m sure they’re talking about. I know other countries are also talking about coming, so hopefully, in the future. It’s great that English players are here… it shows that the guys are keen to come and play here.” England’s next scheduled tour to Pakistan is in 2022-23, which will comprise three Tests and five ODIs. The Lions have played recent series against Pakistan A (recently rebranded as Pakistan Shaheens) in 2015-16 and 2018-19, with all games being held in the UAE.

An ECB spokesperson said: “We welcome the fact that international cricket is beginning to return to Pakistan. Recently, we made a preliminary fact-finding visit at the invitation of the Pakistan Cricket Board along with Cricket Australia and Cricket Ireland. For us this was a first step in assessing the viability of future tours to Pakistan. “All future tour schedules will be announced in due course.”

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