The schedule for the five-match ODI series between Australia and Pakistan has been finally decided by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The last two matches of the series will be played in Dubai. on the 22nd of March in Sharjah.
The teams will then move to Abu Dhabi for the third match on 27 March, with the final two games in Dubai on 29 March and 31 March.
Last year, the PCB hosted an incident-free Twenty20 series against the West Indies and some Pakistan Super League matches. Global cricket was suspended in the country after an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009. March 29, when the fourth ODI is to be played, is the first day Smith and Warner become available again after the bans imposed on them in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal. But its timing is important because it could be the scene of the returns to worldwide cricket of Warner and - injury permitting - Smith.
Warner with former teammate Steve Smith.
Should Warner return for the Pakistan series, it would have the benefit of being more of a low-key series than through the World Cup, where the media and public focus will be intense.
"The PCB was optimistic that it will be able to convince Cricket Australia to send its side (to Pakistan) for some matches", PCB's director of worldwide cricket Zakir Khan said in a statement on Sunday. "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".
Khan said CA have confirmed that they will send their security expert to oversee plans during next month's eight PSL matches in Karachi and Lahore "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.
The series was followed by a Twenty20 between Sri Lanka and Pakistan before Karachi hosted the West Indies in April a year ago. An ICC-approved World XI played three T20Is in September 2017, while Sri Lanka played a T20I the following month.
Those Australian players selected for the UAE series with IPL contracts can not head to the lucrative Twenty20 tournament until their worldwide commitments are done.