Zimbabwe Cricket have received government permission for a six-match limited overs tour of Pakistan in October-November, officials confirmed on Wednesday.
The teams will play three One-Day Internationals between October 30 and November 3, and another three Twenty20 International fixtures that have been pencilled in for Nov 7-10.
The ODI series will be part of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League.
It is also a further boost for Pakistan cricket, who recently welcomed back visitors after Sri Lanka and Bangladesh toured the country last December and January.
According to a statement issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the 50-over matches will be played in Multan, while Rawalpindi will host the three T20Is. The matches will be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has introduced the Super League to "provide context to ODI cricket" and will serve as a qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 with the top seven sides automatically booking their berth in the India event. Featuring 13 teams, the 12 Test playing countries and the Netherlands, the Super League will see each side play four home and four away three-match series, the PCB said.
PCB's Director (International Cricket) Zakir Khan said the confirmation of the series schedule against Zimbabwe "after having successfully hosted Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, as well as Marylebone Cricket Club and HBL Pakistan Super League V, in the 2019-20 season not only strengthens Pakistan’s reputation as a safe and secure country but also a healthy one after having successfully overcome the Covid-19 pandemic".
“This series is critical to Pakistan as it aspires to qualify directly for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 and, as such, every point in the Super League will count," he was quoted as saying.
Khan said the Zimbabwe matches had been strategically scheduled in Multan and Rawalpindi, the venues that will host the National T20 Cup from September 30 to October 18.
"By the time Zimbabwe arrives, we would have gained enough experience on bio-securing hotels, player transportation, the venues and the players’ dressing rooms," he said, adding that the series will be held under "strict Covid-19 protocols" to ensure the health and safety of all participants.
Zimbabwe's 32-member squad will undergo two Covid-19 tests within a space of 48 hours prior to their departure in Harare, while the second tests will be conducted as soon as they land in Islamabad.
Players and support staff testing negative in Islamabad will be eligible to resume training at a venue, which the PCB said it will confirm "in due course".
According to the handout, players and support personnel testing positive for the virus during the tour will have to observe a five-day self-isolation and will only be allowed to re-integrate with the side after two negative tests.
- Oct 20 – Zimbabwe arrival in Islamabad
- Oct 30 – 1st ODI, Multan
- Nov 1– 2nd ODI, Multan
- Nov 3 – 3rd ODI, Multan
- Nov 7 – 1st T20I, Rawalpindi
- Nov 8 – 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi
- Nov 10 – 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi