Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE are set for another first in Pakistan by featuring in the first T20I series to be hosted at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium next month.
The Chevrons, who are expected to tour the Asian country later this month, were also the first team to play Test cricket at the venue back in 1993.
Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief executive, Wasim Khan, revealed Rawalpindi will host the three T20 Internationals against Zimbabwe.
The three One-Day Internationals will be played in Multan.
The two cricket boards have intensified preparations for the tour, but Zimbabwe Cricket are still to get the green light from Government to tour the Asian nation.
International travel had been frozen by the authorities, following the outbreak of Covid-19 earlier this year.
ZC have since made an application to Government, through the Sports and Recreation Commission, to be allowed to tour Pakistan.
Serious efforts are being made by the Pakistan Cricket Board to host Zimbabwe this year.
PCB chief executive, Wasim, said the tour arrangements were being given final shape and they were eagerly anticipating the tour.
“We are consistently in touch with Zimbabwe Cricket. They have sent some queries regarding boarding/lodging and travel plans,’’ said Wasim.
“We are working on it and everything will be finalised within ten days. The news of immediate interest for Rawalpindi and Islamabad fans is that the Pindi Stadium will host the three T20 matches against Zimbabwe.’’
The former Pakistan international said all standard operating procedures would be followed, and necessary precautionary measures taken, for the safety of both squads. The series will be held in a bio-secure bubble.
Zimbabwe need to arrive in Pakistan on time so that they will be able to complete their quarantine. According to reports, the hosts had expected them to have arrived by next Sunday, and it looks time is running out before the announcement is made.
“There will be no compromise on it. We have learned a lot from our England tour,” said Wasim.
The return of international cricket has excited Pakistani and their duel with Zimbabwe at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium is likely to be more significant.
Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium hosted its first Test match in 1993, when Pakistan played against Zimbabwe.
Wasim would remember that as he was one of the three players, including former Zimbabwe skipper Heath Streak, to get five-wicket hauls in that match.
But, this stadium had been closed to all forms of cricket for over a decade.
The stadium hosted its first Test match, after a 15-year gap, when Sri Lanka, late last year, and Bangladesh, earlier this year, played there.
The last ODI was in 2006.
The 15 000-seater stadium has recently been expanded to cater for the ever-increasing number of spectators for the game.
The Pakistani authorities have put in place solid plans, in the last few years, to ensure international cricket returned to their shores.
They lost a decade because of security concerns.
The Zimbabwe tour to Pakistan is the second such trip by the local side, in five years.
The Chevrons became the first Full Member national team to visit Pakistan since the terror attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009. Since then, the two sides have met twice in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe and Pakistan will play the upcoming ODI series at Multan.
The venue, which last hosted an ODI in 2008, is scheduled to host all three games.