Lahore: Test cricket will return to Pakistan after more than a decade with Sri Lanka on Thursday agreeing to a two-match series in December, which will be a part of the traditional format's ongoing World Championship.
Sri Lanka played a bilateral ODI and T20 International series in Pakistan in September-October earlier this year despite 10 of its top players, including ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Twenty20 skipper Lasith Malinga, opting out due to security concerns.
The upcoming series' first Test will be played in Rawalpindi from 11-15 December, while the second Test will be held in Karachi from 19-23 December.
"This is a fabulous news for Pakistan cricket and its reputation of being as safe and secure as any other country in the world. We are thankful to Sri Lanka Cricket for agreeing to send their team for the longer version of the game," PCB Director (International Cricket) Zakir Khan said in a statement.
Khan said the confirmation will contribute in the PCB's efforts towards ensuring a regular resumption of international cricket in the country. Incidentally, Sri Lanka was also the last team to play Test cricket in Pakistan, back in 2009.
The island nation's team was attacked by terrorists in Lahore during that tour, leading to a freeze in international cricket in Pakistan.
Sri Lanka were originally scheduled to play Tests in October and then return in December for a limited-overs' series but the matches were swapped to "provide them the opportunity to assess the situation before deciding on the Test venues".
"Now that the itinerary has been confirmed, we will shift our focus on series preparations to ensure we deliver arrangements as per our very high standards," Khan said.
Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva said based on an earlier visit, the SLC is comfortable and convinced that conditions are suitable and conducive for Test cricket.
"We also believe all cricket playing countries should host international cricket at home and in this relation we are happy to play our part in complete resumption of international cricket in Pakistan," he said.
11-15 December — 1st Test, Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
19-23 December — 2nd Test, National Stadium, Karachi.
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Afridi said he would like to take Pakistan cricket to the top and is ready to don the administrator's hat for that to happen, but not immediately.
When the PCB official was reminded about the constant changing and chopping in Pakistan cricket, he insisted that Babar was there to stay for a long time.
The 28-year-old left-arm spinner was sent home after he “left the bio-secure premises at a local hotel without seeking a prior clearance from the medical team" and the High Performance department, the board said.