ISLAMABAD: Australia flew into Pakistan Sunday for their first cricket tour in nearly a quarter of a century –– and into a high-security bubble that will envelop them throughout their six-week stay. Skipper Pat Cummins said the tight security surrounding his team was “comforting” and would not be a distraction. Australia were greeted by high-level security normally reserved for heads of state, with hundreds of armed police guarding the airport and the route to the team hotel in Islamabad. “It’s comforting. We are really lucky to be surrounded by so many professionals,” said Cummins of the high-security presence. “Absolutely feel incredibly safe. Lots of security, straight off the plane and straight to the hotel.” Australia will isolate themselves in their rooms for 24 hours while Covid tests are carried out before practising on Monday ahead of the first match in a three-Test series beginning in Rawalpindi on Friday. The Australians will also play three one-day internationals and one Twenty20. “We will be pretty much confined to the hotel but we have travelled to India and places like that a lot where you probably don’t leave the hotel too much, so we are used to it,” said Cummins. “There are no distractions other than the cricket.” Cummins’ side have been boosted by the inclusion of Pakistan-born Australian international Fawad Ahmed as a spin bowling consultant. He has been playing in the PSL with Lahore Qalandars. “He’s got a wealth of experience here and he knows the venues quite well and he’s always great fun for the group,” Cummins said. Senior batsman Steve Smith posted a picture on Twitter of the 35-strong Australia tour party inside their charter flight’s cabin after it touched down in the Pakistan capital, Islamabad. Pakistan have struggled to attract visiting sides since a fatal terror attack on the visiting Sri Lanka team’s bus in 2009. Australia pulled out of a tour five years earlier after a suicide blast at a Lahore church. They last played in Pakistan in 1998, winning the three-Test series 1-0 and blanking the hosts in the three one-day internationals. Having been forced to play their home games abroad –– mostly in the United Arab Emirates –– Pakistan appeared to have reassured international cricket authorities last year with both New Zealand and England scheduled to tour. But the Black Caps hastily departed in September just minutes before their first match was due to start, citing security fears, and England postponed tours by both their men’s and women’s teams soon after. The decisions incensed Pakistan cricket authorities, who felt they had done everything possible to ensure safety and security. It is interesting to note that More than half Pakistan’s 220 million people were not even born the last time Australia toured ––– the median age is 22.8 ––– but stadiums are expected to be packed as the country emerges relatively unscathed from the Omicron stage of the Covid epidemic. Cummins welcomed the return of international cricket to Pakistan. “We always know that Pakistan is an incredible cricket nation,” said Cummins who led Australia to 4-0 Ashes win in his first assignment as captain. “We feel lucky that we get to come back here after a whole generation didn’t get that opportunity to come and play Test or any cricket here.” Pakistan are due to host eight Tests, 11 ODIs and 13 Twenty20 internationals in the next 13 months.