LAHORE - Australia have refused to any of the One-Day International (ODI) series in Pakistan due to security concerns and the two teams will now compete in the World Cup preparatory five-match rubber in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

After much delay, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Sunday finally announced that the one-day series would be played entirely in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from March 22 to 31. The series will commence on March 22 with an opener to be played at Sharjah while the last match will be contested at Dubai on March 31.

Pakistan is ranked fifth on the ICC ODI team rankings, while Australia is sixth – just two points behind. The series is a part of both sides’ ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 preparations, where Australia will defend the title. Both the sides will square off against each other in the event proper in Taunton on June 12.

“Australia are the world champions and this series will provide Pakistan cricket team an opportunity to assess their Word Cup preparations,” PCB Director Cricket International, Zakir Khan, said. “The PCB was optimistic that it will be able to convince Cricket Australia to send its side for some matches after successfully staging high-profile bilateral international series and the HBL Pakistan Super League matches in the past 18 months. But we are disappointed for the enthusiastic and passionate cricket fans in Pakistan, who will now have to wait for some more time before they can see the Australia cricket team live in action for the first time since 1998.

“However, the CA has confirmed that they will send their security expert to oversee the execution of security plans for the HBL PSL 2019 matches and bilateral series against other international sides in Pakistan, and will also speak with the ICC-recommended PCB security consultant. In the meantime, the CA have confirmed they will maintain regular contact with the ICC,” Zakir Khan added.

Lahore hosted the ICC World XI, also comprising Australia Test captain Tim Paine and fast bowler Ben Cutting, in September 2017 (refereed by Sir Richie Richardson of the ICC panel). A month later, Sri Lanka played a T20I at the same venue. In April 2018, Karachi was the venue for three-T20I series between the West Indies and Pakistan (refereed by David Boon of the ICC panel). Last month, the West Indies women’s team played three T20Is against Pakistan women’s team in Karachi.

The inaugural edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League in 2016 was played in the United Arab Emirates, but the 2017 final was held in Lahore. Lahore and Karachi shared three matches between them in 2018, while eight matches are scheduled in the upcoming event which commences February 14.

ITINERARY

March 22 1st ODI Sharjah (D/N)

March 24 2nd ODI Sharjah (D/N)

March 27 3rd ODI Abu Dhabi (D/N)

March 29 4th ODI Dubai (D/N)

March 31 5th ODI Dubai (D/N)