England confirm Pakistan dates
England will play three Tests and five one-day internationals on their tour of Pakistan this winter, having finally agreed their itinerary after lengthy negotiations with the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The tour, which gets underway on October 26, includes a solitary one-day game at the disputed venue of Karachi, while the first Test will take place at the PCB's favoured location of Multan, and not Rawalpindi, the alternative suggested by the England & Wales Cricket Board.
In a change from the format on the last England tour to Pakistan in 2000-01, the Tests will take place first, with the Multan match launching the series on November 12. The second Test at Faisalabad begins on November 20, and the third, at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore, on November 29.
England have two non-first-class warm-up matches to prepare for the Tests. The first starts in Rawalpindi on October 31, although if the Muslim festival of Eid falls on the third and final day of that fixture, then there will be no play on that day. After the Tests they switch formats, with five one-day internationals in 11 days - two in Lahore, one in Karachi, and two in Rawalpindi - before the team flies home for Christmas on Dec 21.
Though the schedule has been agreed in principle, the ECB stressed that the tour would only go ahead subject to on-going advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and their own security advisers. "The safety and security of the tour party, travelling media and supporters is a top priority on any England tour," said John Carr, the ECB's director of cricket operations. "The tour to Pakistan is no exception."
The ECB also added that they believed Multan to be "an outstanding cricketing facility". The prime reason for suggesting Rawalpindi as an alternative Test venue was because of the greater number of international-class hotels in that area, to accommodate the team, media and travelling spectators.
Oct 26 Arrive in Pakistan
Oct 31- Nov 2 Tour match (Rawalpindi)
Nov 6-8 Tour match (Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore)
Nov 12-16 First Test (Multan)
Nov 20-24 Second Test (Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad)
Nov 29-Dec 3 Third Test (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore)
Dec 7 One-day warm-up (Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore)
Dec 10 First ODI (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore)
Dec 12 Second ODI (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore)
Dec 15 Third ODI (National Stadium, Karachi)
Dec 19 Fourth ODI (Rawalpindi)
Dec 21 Fifth ODI (Rawalpindi)
Dec 22 England team fly home.