Australia v Pakistan 2009 February 6, 2009

Pakistan announce Australia itinerary

Cricinfo staff

Pakistan will play Australia in five one-day matches at neutral venues in the Gulf, the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt has said. The first two ODIs will be played in Dubai, while the remaining three will be played in Abu Dhabi.

"We have decided to play the five-match one-day series against Australia in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from April 24 to May 7," said Butt. "The teams will then return to Dubai for the Twenty20 international."

Australia had cancelled their tour of Pakistan in the wake of the heightened violence in March 2008, and were expected to visit the country separately for the ODI and Test series this year. Venues in England, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai had been considered as alternatives in a discussion with Cricket Australia officials on the sidelines of an ICC executive board meeting late last month.

The PCB had turned down the offer to stage the matches at a neutral venue when CA initially expressed their reluctance to tour last year. Butt said there was a possibility of hosting the Test series against Australia at neutral venues as well. "If Australia do not play the Tests in Pakistan there is a possibility of playing the Test series in England," he said.

Australia have not played in Pakistan since 1998. In 2002, due to security concerns, a three Test series between the two sides in Pakistan was shifted to Colombo and Sharjah.