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Update Pakistan women to tour South Africa for limited-overs series

Pakistan women are set to tour South Africa for three T20Is and three ODIs, which will be played in Durban and Pietermaritzburg from 20 January to 3 February. This will be the first international tournament for the team since the pandemic-induced break.

Pakistan will depart for Durban on January 11 and play the first two ODIs at Kingsmead before heading to Pietermaritzburg for the last ODI and the first two T20Is. They will then return to Durban for the final T20I. Except the first ODI and the third T20I, all the games will be day matches. The announcement comes less than a week after England men's tour of South Africa - which was scheduled to be the first international series in the country since the travel restrictions were lifted - was called off due to COVID-19 positive cases.

"We are thrilled as Cricket South Africa to be making this announcement that our Momentum Proteas are heading back to playing competitive cricket again, given the uncertainty and difficulties over the past six months," Graeme Smith, CSA's Director of Cricket, said on Monday (December 14).

"Hosting this tour of Pakistan Women is incredibly important to us as this will give our Protea Women much-needed game time and also bring in revenue that funds the entire game of cricket especially during these difficult times. We enjoy a very good working relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board and we look forward to hosting their ladies side in what promises to be an exciting tour in the new year."

It will also be the first assignment for David Hemp, who took over as the head coach of the Pakistan national team in November 2020, as well as bowling coach Arshad Khan. So far, Hemp has overseen a training camp and a domestic T20 tournament with the team. Another camp will be set up and 27 cricketers have been selected to be a part of it, which will be held at the Hanif Mohammad High-Performance Centre in Karachi from December 20. An 18-member squad for the tour will be announced on December 31

"From the start of the training camp until the side's departure for Durban on 11 January, the women cricketers will remain and train in a bio-secure environment, besides undergoing routine testing in line with the PCB Covid-19 Protocols," the Pakistan Cricket board stated in a release. "Prior to joining the camp, each cricketer will require a negative test and another negative test after reporting for the camp before being allowed to integrate with other members of the group."

The tour takes place despite South Africa having already qualified for the 2022 Women's World Cup. Pakistan stood in with a chance of qualification with India being reluctant to play them. But with the global pandemic bringing a halt to all cricket, they will now have to play the qualifiers.

Urooj Mumtaz, Pakistan's chief selector and head of the women's cricket, said: "It is critical for women's cricket that we continue to invest in the game in these difficult times, otherwise all the efforts and hard work that have gone recently in building the profile, enhancing the standard and generating fan interest and following will be wasted.

"I am delighted that Cricket South Africa have agreed to host us for a full tour despite having already qualified for the ICC Women's World Cup 2022. This is yet another indicator and reflection of our relationship with the Member boards who are willing to help and support each other in any possible way.

"South Africa are ranked above us, both in the ODI and T20I formats and, as such, I am sure this series will go a long way in not only assisting us to further improve our standards but also prepare for June's ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier 2021 as we aim to finish in the top three and progress to the event in early 2022 in New Zealand."


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