Updated: March 1, 2022 11:47:45 am
Members of the 18-man squad picked for Australia’s first trip to Pakistan in 24 years reached Islamabad on a chartered plane during the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Australia have last played in Pakistan in 1998, winning the three-Test series 1-0 and sweeping the hosts in the three one-day internationals.
Arrived in 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/pnis0ckFeO
Vice-captain Steve Smith, Islamabad-born Usman Khawaja and spinners Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson all shared their excitement for the three-Test campaign that begins on Friday.
The tour will be Pat Cummins’ first overseas Tests since taking over as captain while it will also herald the beginning of the post-Justin Langer era following the coach’s resignation earlier this month.
Andrew McDonald is leading the side on an interim basis for the Test series, which moves to Karachi and then Lahore for the second and third games, as well as for the three ODIs and solitary T20I in Rawalpindi.
International teams had mostly stayed away from Pakistan since an attack by Islamist militants on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians. That forced Pakistan’s national teams to play home matches outside the country for more than six years.
Last year, New Zealand aborted its limited-overs tour to Pakistan in September due to security fears just before the toss in the first one-day international was due to take place at Rawalpindi. England followed the New Zealand decision by also abandoning its short tour to Pakistan just before the T20 World Cup in October.
However, New Zealand will make up for this year’s abandoned tour of Pakistan by playing 10 white-ball matches in April 2023.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (vc), 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, Zahid Mahmood. Reserves: Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Haris
Australia Test squad: 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, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner. On standby: Sean Abbott, Brendan Doggett, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Renshaw
Australia ODI and T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa
4-8 March – 1st Test, Rawalpindi
12-16 March – 2nd Test, Karachi
21-25 March – 3rd Test, Lahore
29 March – 1st ODI, Rawalpindi
31 March – 2nd ODI, Rawalpindi
2 April – 3rd ODI, Rawalpindi
5 April – one-off T20I, Rawalpindi
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️