Culture & Sport

24 years later, Australia’s cricket team plays in Pakistan

Australia’s cricket team will tour in Pakistan 24 years after its last game in the country. Pakistan faces difficulties to host cricket teams due to security concerns.

Australia cricket team
Australia cricket team, November 2021

Australia men’s national cricket team arrived on February 27 for its first tour to Pakistan in 24 years.

The last time Australia visited Pakistan was in 1998.

Actually, Pakistan has struggled to attract visiting teams in the past years since a terrorist attack on Sri Lanka team’s bus on its way to the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore in 2009 killed two civilians and six Pakistani police officers. Seven members of the cricket team were wounded by the 12 gunmen which Pakistani officials claimed were Islamist militants.

Lahore is the second city of Pakistan, located in the Punjab province, near the Indian border considered relatively peaceful.

Pakistan has hosted Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh and South Africa cricket teams over the last six years.

But for ten years, Pakistan didn’t host a Test match, a game that takes place over five days, until Sri Lanka agreed to come back in 2019. Pakistan was playing most of its ‘home’ Test series in the United Arab Emirates since the 2009 attack.

Australia is the first high-profile team that will be touring Pakistan for a fully-fledged bilateral series. Cricket games will be played in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore.

Last year both New Zealand and England, two other top cricket teams, pulled out of limited-overs tours to Pakistan due to security concerns.

Security teams from Australia visited Pakistan last year to assess the security arrangements in the three cities before the tour was given approval by Cricket Australia. But recent attacks in the country, including a blast in a bazaar in Lahore in late January that killed three people, unsettled players.

Thousands of security personnel are expected to be deployed during the Australians’ stay. “This (security) might be a little bit different to what we’re used to, but we know it’s been taken care of so we can just really enjoy our first tour here in 24 years,” said Pat Cummins the captain of Australia’s cricket team.

New Zealand and England are also due to tour Pakistan later this year.

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