CAPE TOWN: Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Tuesday it will send a security assessment delegation to Pakistan this weekend with a view to the playing in the country in early 2021.

If the tour goes ahead it will be South Africa’s first visit to Pakistan since 2007-08 before two subsequent ‘away’ tours were staged in the United Arab Emirates because of security concerns following a 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

No details of the planned fixtures were revealed but according to the Inter­national Cricket Council’s future tours programme South Africa are due to play in two matches of the World Test Championship as well as three T20 Internat­ionals in January and February.

Tuesday’s announcement confirmed South Africa will host Sri Lanka in two Tests over the local summer holiday period. The first Test will be in Centurion from Dec 26 to 30 and the second Test will be in Johannesburg from Jan 3 to 7, with both played on the Highveld to minimise travel for the teams.

After the CSA’s entire board resigned on Monday, acting chief executive Kugandrie Govender said the matches against Sri Lanka, like those for the upcoming white-ball series against England, would be played without spectators because of Covid-19 restrictions.

On their previous visit to South Africa in 2018-19, Sri Lanka gained an upset 2-0 series win — the first by an Asian team in a Test series in South Africa.

CSA also announced Australia would visit South Africa for three Tests in March and April 2021, to be followed by Pakistan, who will play three One-day internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals next April. Dates for these tours will be announced later. The series was scheduled to take place in September/October 2020, but was postponed due to the high Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said the tour would form part of the Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League — with all teams playing four home and as many away series — will determine who qualifies for the ICC World Cup in 2023, to be hosted by India.

Pakistan open their campaign in the Super League with a three-match one-day series against Zimbabwe in Rawalpindi from Friday.

For Australia it will be the first red ball series in South Africa since the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 over which the then captain Steve Smith and batsmen David Warner and Cameron Ban­croft received lengthy bans.

It was previously announced South Africa — who have not been in action since a one-day tour of India was called off because of the Covid-19 pandemic in March — will host England in three Twenty20 Internationals and three One-day Internationals in Cape Town and Paarl between Nov 27 and Dec 9.

Pakistan, meanwhile, have also now agreed to fulfil its Future Tour Progr­amme (FTP) commitment prior to visiting Zimbabwe for two Tests and three Twenty20 Inter­nationals. The schedule of both the series will be announced in due course.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2020