ECB confirm plans for first tour of Pakistan in 15 years

The ECB has confirmed it is in talks with the PCB about a short tour to Pakistan in late January or early February.

While England are not currently scheduled to tour Pakistan until late 2022, the PCB issued this invitation in the hope that England may have around a week between their tour of Sri Lanka, which is currently planned for January, and their Test and limited-overs series against India, which are due to take place from late January and into March.

The ECB appear keen to make the tour happen. Not only are they grateful for Pakistan's recently concluded tour of England - Pakistan's players were obliged to spend several weeks in lockdown due to Covid-19 protocols - but they are mindful of the powerful message such a tour would send to a country which was starved of top-flight cricket for many years due to security concerns.

"After discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), we can confirm the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has received an invitation in respect of a short white-ball tour to Pakistan during the early part of 2021," the ECB said in a statement released on October 15. "We welcome the fact that international cricket is returning to Pakistan and are committed to doing what we can to help this develop further.

"As with any proposed tour that takes place at this time, the safety and welfare of our players and staff is paramount. As such, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, including the proposed protocols in relation to Covid-19 bio-secure bubbles, the proposed levels of security around the team, as well as the feasibility of undertaking this tour against the backdrop of an already busy schedule of international cricket for the England men's team.

"We will be liaising with the PCB, and as well as other partners over the coming weeks to work through these considerations, before a final decision will be taken in due course."