Islamabad, 27 February 2022 (TDI): The Australian cricket team arrived at Pakistan’s Islamabad International Airport for their first visit to the country in 24 years, under heavy security. The last time Australian Cricket Team visited Pakistan was in November 1998.

Australian cricket team will face the Green Shirts in three test matches, three ODIs, and one T20. The opening Test match of the series will be played on March 4 at Rawalpindi.

It will be followed by tests in Karachi and Lahore before three one-day internationals (ODIs) and a single T20 in Rawalpindi. Since a devastating terror assault on the visiting Sri Lanka team’s bus in 2009, Pakistan has struggled to lure foreign teams.

After a suicide bombing at a church in Lahore five years ago, Australia canceled a visit. They last visited Pakistan in 1998, where they won the three-Test series 1-0 and blanked the hosts in three one-day internationals.

After being compelled to play their home games abroad, mostly in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan looked to have convinced international cricket officials last year, with both New Zealand and England slated to travel.

Though the Black Caps abruptly left in September, only minutes before their first match, citing security concerns, England quickly postponed trips by both their men’s and women’s teams.

The decisions have infuriated Pakistan cricket officials, who believed that they had done all necessary to assure the safety and security of the New Zealand cricket team.

Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, and others have landed in Pakistan today. Officials from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) greeted the players upon their arrival at Islamabad International Airport.

Test schedule

March 4 to 8               —        First Test, Rawalpindi

March 12 to 16           —        Second Test, Karachi

March 21 to 25           —        Third Test, Lahore

Australian Cricket  Squad

Australian Cricket Test squad is comprised of 18 members:

Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, and David Warner.

Pakistan Squad

Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, and Zahid Mahmood.

Fool-Proof Security

According to Pakistan’s Interior Ministry Spokesperson, “Head of State-Level Security” will be given to the Australian Cricket Team. Colloquially, such arrangements are exclusively made for high-level foreign delegations, Pakistan’s President, and the Prime Minister.

When the Australian Squad will make a 15-kilometer (11-mile) commute, roads will be closed, and their bus will be escorted by Pakistan’s Army helicopters. Snipers will be deployed around the stadium, while local vendors and offices have been ordered to close on match days. Matches in Karachi and Lahore will be held under similar conditions.

Australia’s Test captain, Pat Cummins showed his satisfaction that his squad is “comfortable” with the security arrangements and excited about what lies ahead as the team prepares to fly into Pakistan for their first visit since 1998.