Australia will fulfill their commitment to tour Pakistan before Pakistan's next visit to Australia in November-December 2009, the Pakistan Cricket Board has revealed. It is likely, however, given the constraints of the Future Tours Programme (FTP), that it will be a split tour.
Australia were originally scheduled to tour Pakistan in March this year, but postponed the trip due to security concerns. They haven't toured Pakistan since 1998-99. But an announcement of the revised programme is imminent.
"We have reached an agreement on the dates with Australia," Shafqat Naghmi, PCB's chief operating officer, said. "We do not want to announce the final programme just yet but I can confirm that they will carry out their commitments before Pakistan visits next year. The dates will be announced in the next couple of days."
It is likely that Australia will first play five ODIs and a Twenty20 international before coming back to complete their three-Test commitment. Though Naghmi refused to confirm this, he hinted at the possibility. "If you look at the FTP between now and then it is very difficult to find a free stretch of dates for the entire tour to be completed in one go."
The only window in the FTP until the end of this year for the ODIs appears to be in August or September, before the Champions Trophy begins in Pakistan and that would be ideal for both sides as they gear up for the ICC tournament.
Beyond that Australia are due in India for a four-Test series in October before hosting South Africa over the turn of the year for a full tour. In March 2009, when Tests could be played in Pakistan, Australia are in South Africa for a return visit.