LAHORE: South Africa will tour Pakistan next month for the first time in 14 years to play two Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals. The five-day matches form part of the ICC Test Championship and will be staged in Karachi (Jan 26-30) and Rawalpindi (Feb 4-8), before T20I fixtures in Lahore, ending on Feb 14. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday announced details of South Africa men’s cricket team’s first tour to Pakistan after 14 years. International cricket has returned to Pakistan in the past 15 months following a militant attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians. The country has hosted Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since September 2019, while England recently announced a short two-match 20-over series in October next year in the build-up to the T20 World Cup in India. Upon arrival in Karachi and in the lead up to the first Test, South Africa will observe an isolation period following which they will hold training sessions and play intra-squad practice matches. This will be South Africa’s first visit to Pakistan since the 2007 tour when they won the Karachi Test by 160 runs to clinch the series 1-0. The subsequent series in 2010 and 2013 were played in the United Arab Emirates. Since 1995, the two sides have played 11 Test series with South Africa winning seven and Pakistan one in 2003. In this background, Babar Azam’s side will be determined to end the 18-year series win drought and move up in the ICC World Test Championship ladder. Separately, South Africa are ranked sixth in the ICC Test team rankings, while Pakistan are seventh. As for the T20Is, this will be the first time the two sides will go head to head in Pakistan, having previously played the two series in the United Arab Emirates. South Africa won both the series. PCB Director International Zakir Khan said: “South Africa confirming a tour to Pakistan and playing matches at the three major centres is a fabulous news for Pakistan cricket and its fans. South Africa is one of the most popular sides in Pakistan even though they last played here in 2007, but the fans have been following their performances closely and now look forward to welcoming them. Cricket South Africa and its players have a special bonding with Pakistan as a number of their star players visited Lahore with the ICC World XI in 2017 and have appeared in the HBL Pakistan Super League with Faf du Plessis being the latest addition after featuring in the playoffs in Karachi. 2021 promises to be a bumper and most exciting year for Pakistan cricket fans after a very long time. After South Africa, we are scheduled to host New Zealand, England and the West Indies, while our away series are against South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Afghanistan and the West Indies. If these high-profile and exciting series are topped up with the Asia Cup 2021 and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, Pakistan cricket fans can brace themselves for an exciting and action-packed year.” CSA Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith said: “It’s pleasing to see so many countries making a return to Pakistan – a proud, cricket-loving nation. Cricket South Africa is delighted to be counted among them. As someone who has toured the country on more than one occasion back in my playing days, I know how much passion the people of Pakistan have for the game as well as the love and support that the Proteas enjoy there as a team. I would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board for the hospitality and transparency they showed our security contingent when they travelled over there a few weeks ago. The report on their findings and recommendations gives us confidence as an organization that all of our team’s security, playing and accommodation needs will be met and that the wellbeing of the team will be the top priority. We look forward to embarking on this historical tour.” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said: “I am delighted that South Africa have confirmed their tour to Pakistan and look forward to captaining my country for the first time in a home Test at a venue where we recently won our maiden HBL Pakistan Super League title. Looking at the calendar of international cricket in 2021, I am pleased we are playing more against the sides which are ranked above us. This is critical to not only our learning and development, but also an opportunity to improve our rankings across all formats. With the amount of cricket that is lined up in 2021, I am excited that a number of promising and budding cricketers will get chances to break into the national side and cement their places. This is critical to Pakistan’s future in developing a strong and formidable nucleus of players who can step up and challenge any opposition anywhere in the world.” Tour itinerary Jan 26-30 – 1st Test, Karachi Feb 4-8 – 2nd Test, Rawalpindi Feb 11 – 1st T20I, Lahore Feb 13 – 2nd T20I, Lahore Feb 14 – 3rd T20I, Lahore.