After 15 years, West Windies women to tour Pakistan for T20Is
West Indies women are headed to Karachi this month. © AFP

The West Indies women’s cricket team will tour Pakistan for the first time in 15 years, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Thursday, for a three-match T20I series to be held in Karachi.

Incidentally the last none-Asian women’s team to visit Pakistan, West Indies women will meet the Pakistan women’s team on January 31 and February 1 and 3 at Karachi’s Southend Club. After the landmark series, the two teams will travel to Dubai for three ODIs on February 7, 9 and 11. (ALSO READ: Cricket Australia tells PCB they won’t be touring)

“The visit of the West Indies women’s team to Karachi is great news not only for Pakistan cricket but for women’s cricket in general. We are thankful to Cricket West Indies and their players for trusting the PCB and agreeing to play three T20Is in Karachi,” PCB Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad said in a press release. “The decision of Cricket West Indies endorses our position that Pakistan is as safe and secure as any other country. On behalf of the PCB, I would like to say that we are confident that this tour will go a long way in the complete revival of international cricket in Pakistan. (ALSO READ: Sana Mir retained in A category as PCB hand central contracts to 17 women cricketers)

“The PCB and the CWI have a very long history of collaboration and mutual respect, and this decision further illustrates strong relationship between the two boards. With the West Indies women’s cricket team’s agreement to partake in the three T20Is, the CWI has reiterated their support for a key member of the cricket fraternity in a time when we are working extremely hard to get international cricket back into our backyard.

“The West Indies women’s cricket team is one of the most formidable and admired sides in the world. By playing in Karachi, they will also contribute to the growth and popularity of women’s cricket in this part of the world. I am sure this series will inspire a number of young women cricketers to take up this great sport.”

Pakistani security personnel escort vehicles carrying the Pakistan and West Indies cricket teams in 2018
Pakistani security personnel escort vehicles carrying the Pakistan and West Indies cricket teams in 2018. ©AFP

Apart from five limited-overs games against minnows Zimbabwe in 2015, Pakistan had until 2017 not hosted top-level international cricket since militants attacked the bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009, killing eight people and wounding seven players and staff.

In the second half of 2017, a World XI coached by Andy Flower and featuring Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Paul Collingwood and the Australian trio of current Test skipper Tim Paine, George Bailey and Ben Cutting travelled to Pakistan  for a three-match T20I series. This was followed by a visit from a depleted Sri Lankan team, and last year West Indies played three T20Is in Karachi.

Cricket West Indies Chief Executive Officer Johnny Grave said in the release that the security plan arranged by the PCB is of exactly the same level that the West Indies men’s team had in 2018 and that the independent security advisors it had contracted confirmed to that they are satisfied that the risk is manageable and can be mitigated to an acceptable level.

“Following the successful hosting of the Windies’ men’s team in Pakistan in April 2018, we have confirmed to the PCB that our Windies women’s squad will now also play a three-match T20I series in Karachi. This tour is a further major step for our friends at the Pakistan Cricket Board to bring their cricket back home, and we are pleased that our players and support staff have recognised this and supported this venture,” said Grave. “We have made it very clear to the players and support staff that should any of them have any personal reservations about this tour, than we fully understand and accept their position.”

The first ODI will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, while the second and third ODIs will be played at the ICC Academy.

Pakistan will face West Indies and Bangladesh at home and away in the ICC Women’s Championship till July 31.