PCB hopeful England Lions will tour Pakistan next winter

The PCB is hopeful that an England Lions squad will tour Pakistan next winter.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the PCB’s managing director Wasim Khan has engaged in discussions with the 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.

Last month, the MCC led a tour to the country, while English players have regularly travelled to the country to play in the Pakistan Super League. In 2017, Dawid Malan, Chris Jordan and Samit Patel all travelled to Lahore for the competition’s final – the first PSL game to be hosted in Pakistan – while as many as 15 England-qualified players are involved this season, with all games being played in Pakistan.

Last week, Clare Connor, the ECB’s director of women’s cricket, attended Multan Sultans’ home fixture against Peshawar Zalmi during a stop-over en route to the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, and tweeted her thanks for “a wonderful welcome and an incredible first experience of the PSL”.

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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