Somerset: Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts is expected to visit Pakistan and captain Aaron Finch says he would "love" to play there, but security fears remain the key issue preventing a return by an Australian side.
Australia last toured Pakistan for three Tests and three one-day internationals under captain Mark Taylor in 1998, but Pakistan Cricket Board managing director Wasim Khan intends to meet with Roberts after the World Cup to instigate change – although CA says no immediate date has been set.
Pakistan will tour Australia for two Tests this summer, with the two nations due to then meet again in 2021. The PCB could be keen for that series to be in Pakistan, and not in the United Arab Emirates, although close observers of Pakistan cricket suggest initial talks are likely to focus on some short-form matches being safely held before a full tour was considered.
The PCB has shown it can fly nations in and out of the country even on the same day for Twenty20 matches, should visiting nations be based in the United Arab Emirates, which is about a three-hour flight from Karachi.
The PCB had wanted Australia to play part of their five-match one-day series in March in Pakistan but CA did not agree, the series being held in full in the UAE – Pakistan's cricketing home for almost two decades.
Finch, Australia's World Cup skipper, said he would relish the chance to play in Pakistan, provided safety and security issues were addressed.
"When the Pakistan Super League was played there, the fans are selling out grounds in minutes," he said.
"From all reports, the guys who played there said it was an amazing time to play cricket in Pakistan – just for them to have cricket back in their home country where there's so much love and passion for the game is incredible.
"It's well above my decision-making whether to decide whether the team should go back and whether it's safe enough. So I'm sure that all countries and the ICC and everyone involved is doing their due diligence in making sure that security and everything is looked at to make sure [of] that when cricket is ready to go back to Pakistan. And I'd love to play there. No doubt."
It's been a decade since Sri Lankan players were attacked by gunmen on the team bus in Pakistan, an incident that injured six players and killed six security personnel. There has been little international cricket in the country since.
Pakistan have suffered as a result of having to stage home matches in the UAE, with attendances, as reinforced during the two-Test series against Australia in October, almost non-existent. This has also impacted on the broadcast rights fees the PCB has been able to demand.
"You hear of stories of guys who played there in the past that said how amazing it is to play there and then similarly to India with the passion of their fans and the crowds, when it's ready it will happen. And that's going to come down to individual boards and the ICC and all the right people making the decisions," Finch said.
There has been some encouragement for the PCB. Sri Lanka returned for a one-off Twenty20 inRead More – Source