SA consider touring Pakistan in March, security key concern


South Africa are considering a short tour to Pakistan to play three T20Is in late March, immediately after their ODIs in India which finishes on March 18. ESPNcricinfo understands that South Africa will send a security delegation to Pakistan next month, either during the Test against Bangladesh or during the PSL, to assess whether the situation is considered safe enough for South Africa to tour the country.

Sources confirmed that a delegation headed by security expert Rory Steyn will travel to Pakistan and will present their findings to CSA on their return. The group want to visit ongoing Pakistan matches in order to gain first-hand information on the logistics involved, including the team's hotel arrangements, transportation to the grounds and in-stadium experience.

South Africa have not toured Pakistan since October 2007 but have visited them for series in the UAE twice since then, in 2010 and 2013. At least one prominent South African has visited Pakistan in that time. Russell Domingo, the former South Africa coach who is now in charge of Bangladesh, toured the country earlier this month but another South African, batting consultant Neil McKenzie, did not. The current FTP has South Africa scheduled to visit Pakistan to play two Tests and three T20Is in January/February 2021. However, South Africa may be after some extra T20I fixtures ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year.

The matches may also provide an opportunity for the reintegration of AB de Villiers into the T20I squad after indications that he was interested in making a comeback for the tournament. It is unclear when de Villiers will return to the national set-up but if he does, he will be required to play in some of South Africa's fixtures as they build towards the T20 World Cup.

South Africa also have home fixtures against England and Australia in the next six weeks and five T20s against West Indies in August, where it is expected that de Villiers will play. De Villiers did not enter this year's PSL draft.

South Africa could soon be on their way to Pakistan, where no team representing their country has set foot in almost 13 years. A mooted tour there in March would form part of the preparation for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November.

Cricbuzz has learnt that a delegation of security experts from South Africa is to visit Pakistan to gather intelligence on the country's suitability for a visit by the national side. If the situation is deemed stable enough the Proteas will arrive after their tour to India, which ends on March 18, to play three T20s.

South Africa, who were last in Pakistan in October 2007 for two Tests and five one-day internationals, have played seven Tests and 26 ODIs in the country. No international teams went there for more than six years after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore on March 3, 2009 - which killed eight and wounded nine, including six Lankan players. Tours resumed in May 2015, when Zimbabwe played two T20s and three ODIs. Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh have also since visited.

South Africans have been to Pakistan in recent years, but only as individuals. A World XI that played three T20s in Lahore in September 2017 included Hashim Amla, Faf Du Plessis, David Miller, Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel. Rilee Rossouw, JP Duminy, Cameron Delport, David Wiese and Colin Ingram have featured in Pakistan Super League matches in Karachi and Lahore.