England are considering touring Pakistan for a three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series in January 2021, according to The Times.
England have not toured Pakistan since 2005 amid security concerns, especially due to the 2009 terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore.
Pakistan were one of four teams that went over to the United Kingdom (UK) this year, amid Covid-19 pandemic, which played a major role in keeping financial losses at a manageable level for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
“Discussions are under way for a tour to Pakistan in January, the first time an England team will have visited the country for 15 years. The plan is for a three-match T20 series to thank Pakistan for their help last summer and to help accelerate the opening up of the country to touring teams,” the report said.
Later, the ECB also confirmed that that had received a formal invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regarding the tour.
“After discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), we can confirm the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has received an invitation in respect of a short white-ball tour to Pakistan for England Men during the early part of 2021,” ECB said in a statement.
“We welcome the fact that international cricket is returning to Pakistan and are committed to doing what we can to help this develop further,” the statement added.
Although, the ECB reiterated that “the safety and welfare of our players and staff is paramount” and the final decision will be taken after assessing the security and Covid-19 situation.
“There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, including the proposed protocols in relation to Covid-19 bio-secure bubbles, the proposed levels of security around the team, as well as the feasibility of undertaking this tour against the backdrop of an already busy schedule of international cricket for the England men’s team,” the statement said.
“We will be liaising with the PCB, and as well as other partners over the coming weeks to work through these considerations, before a final decision will be taken in due course,” the statement concluded.