England could be set to return to Pakistan for the first time since 2005 as the ECB are considering an invitation from the PCB for a short white-ball tour early next year.
Pakistan were one of the four sides that traveled to the UK and deserve a huge amount of credit for the role they played in ensuring that the summer of international cricket was not lost completely.
It appears Chris Silverwood’s side could be set to repay the favour in early 2021 as the ECB has revealed that they have received an invitation from the PCB for a short white-ball tour early next year.
According to reports from the Guardian, the proposed tour would see Eoin Morgan’s side play a three-match T20 series there in January 2021, meaning it would clash with the potential Test series in Sri Lanka should both go ahead.
In a statement on their website, the ECB noted: “We welcome the fact that international cricket is returning to Pakistan and are committed to doing what we can to help this develop further.
“As with any proposed tour that takes place at this time, the safety and welfare of our players and staff is paramount. As such, 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.
“We will be liaising with the PCB, 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 last time England toured Pakistan Michael Vaughan was the captain, England had just claimed a famous victory in the 2005 Ashes series, and Marcus Trescothick nearly broke Kevin Peitersen’s nose during a raucous night of karaoke.
Issues over security have meant that they haven’t returned in the past 15 years, with Pakistan playing the majority of their home series in the UAE but international teams are beginning to return to the country and England’s Test captain suggested earlier this year that he would love the side to play there.
What the tour would mean for fans remains unclear at this time but given the ECB’s comments about bio-secure bubbles, it appears unlikely we will be able to return to stadiums.