Pakistan’s cricket tour drought to end

Zimbabwe have agreed to tour Pakistan for a five-match one-day series next month, the first Test-playing nation to visit in six years, Pakistan’s cricket chief said Thursday.

“Zimbabwe’s final reply is that yes we want to come to Pakistan and although there are some details to be finalised we hope that they will come to play five one-day matches — three in Lahore and two in Karachi — next month,” said Shehryar Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The visit would make Zimbabwe the first team from the ten Test-playing countries to tour Pakistan in six years.

Foreign teams have refused to tour Pakistan over security fears since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009.

Pakistan has since hosted all home matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Security in Pakistan has improved since last year’s military operation against the Taliban insurgency in the troubled northwest.

That raised confidence levels among international teams with Kenya touring Pakistan for a five-match series in December.

Khan also said an Australian army team will visit Rawalpindi to play cricket with Pakistan’s army.

Ireland, which cancelled a tour planned for last September in the wake of a terror attack on Karachi airport, might also now be willing to tour the country, he added.

However, some countries are still loath to send their teams to Pakistan due to security concerns, Khan said.

“Doors of international cricket are opening for us but top teams like India have more security requirements and they will not come at the moment,” he said.

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