PAKISTAN are to play Tests and one-day games against Australia and England in England next year, a welcome chance for the public to see more top-notch international cricket.
The ICC promised a big effort to help the new world twenty20 champions maintain a revenue stream after all opportunities to host international cricket in Pakistan were ruled out by the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore earlier this year.
The ECB announced today that they had reached agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board to hold two neutral Test matches and two 20-over internationals between Pakistan and Australia next year in July. ECB chairman Giles Clarke said: "The Pakistan team performed outstandingly well in the World T20 tournament in England and were worthy world champions. The passion of the support for their team in England demonstrated why this country is an ideal venue for these matches against Australia .
"The warm relations between our two Boards has developed further under the leadership of the current PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, with whom I enjoy an excellent working relationship, and ECB is delighted to support Pakistan in staging these matches."
The ECB confirmed that England would host Pakistan for four Tests, five one-day internationals and two T20 internationals in August and September of next year.
At this week's ICC Board meeting at Lord's it was confirmed that no World Cup matches in 2011 would be played in Pakistan and that Lahore would be removed as the tournament's administrative centre. The question of where Pakistan's allocation of 14 games would be held remained open, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai already ruled out. The matches are to be split between India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The ICC president David Morgan said: "The Board remains committed to resolve this issue as soon as possible as there is an urgent need to press on with arrangements for the ICC’s flagship event, now less than two years away."
Clarke accepted the role of chairman of a new Pakistan task panel. This body, set up by the ICC, was charged with providing strategies and solutions to assist the Pakistan in protecting their position in international cricket.