LONDON: England Women will tour Pakistan for the first time in October, joining the men’s side in an unprecedented joint trip, cricket chiefs announced here on Thursday.
No England team have played international cricket in the country since 2005.
Cricket-obsessed Pakistan spent a decade in international sporting isolation after gunmen targeted the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, killing eight people and wounding several players and officials.
Eoin Morgan’s white-ball team had already committed to a two-match Twenty20 International series in Karachi on Oct 14 and 15, with those dates now turned into double-headers involving Heather Knight’s side.
The Heather Knight-led England Women, world champions in the 50-over format, will then stay in Karachi to compete in three One-day Internationals, on Oct 18, 20 and 22.
“We are absolutely delighted to be making this historic announcement today,” said Clare Connor, managing director of women’s cricket for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). “The England women’s cricket team has never toured Pakistan before so this is another important step in our history and journey.
“Not only will this be a cricket tour that provides valuable competitive opportunity to both teams, it should also serve as another powerful and positive message as we drive forward our equality ambitions for more women and girls to derive empowerment through the sport.”
Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said the matches would be a good test for the hosts ahead of the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand.
“World champions England accompanying their men’s side for their first-ever tour to Karachi is an extremely powerful and strong announcement for Pakistan, our women’s cricketers,” he said. “Women’s T20Is taking place before the men’s matches at the iconic National Stadium will mean more eyeballs will follow these matches than ever before.
“I am confident the women’s tour will open up opportunities for future tours that will further contribute in promoting women’s cricket in Pakistan.”
Pakistan and England last met in the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia last year, with England winning by 42 runs.
Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2021