India's chief selector Chetan Sharma has insisted Virat Kohli was asked to reconsider his decision to step down as the team's T20I captain.

Kohli confirmed before the T20 World Cup that he would leave his role as India skipper in the shortest format, though he does intend to carry on playing in the team.

The 33-year-old also believed he would continue as ODI and Test captain. However, he is now only the skipper for red ball matches, with Rohit Sharma leading the side in limited overs games.

Rohit, however, will not skipper India's white ball side in South Africa, with the batsman missing out due to a hamstring injury, with KL Rahul instead named as captain for the three-match ODI series.

Rahul has never led India before in any format, though he will at least be able to call on the experience of Kohli, who has been included in the 18-man squad and led India to victory in the first Test this week.

While announcing the squad at a news conference on Friday, Chetan was asked if Kohli's claims that he had not been asked to reconsider his decision were true, with those comments having contradicted BCCI president Sourav Ganguly's previous claim.

"When the meeting started, it was a surprise for everybody," Chetan said.

"Because the World Cup is upon you and you hear this news, what will be the reaction of a normal person?

"Everyone who was present in the meeting asked him to reconsider, to rethink; 'We can talk about this after the World Cup'. All the selectors felt this could affect the performance in the World Cup.

"It was told to Virat for the sake of Indian cricket to please continue as captain. It was told to him by everybody available in the meeting. Everybody said that.

"Who will not say that when you hear such news? You will be in shock. What will be your instant reaction? It was a matter of the World Cup.

"We thought let's talk after the World Cup. We told Virat the World Cup is upon us, and everybody requested let's talk after the World Cup.

"But he has his plans. We have to respect his decision. If someone has taken a decision, and he said in the media also, that he was thinking [along these lines] from the time of WTC, but at that time everybody told him to think about it."

Jasprit Bumrah will act as vice captain against the Proteas, while R Ashwin earned a recall for the first time since 2017 and Venkatesh Iyer received his maiden ODI call up.

The ODIs take place on January 19, 21 and 23.


India's squad in full:  KL Rahul (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj.

Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect to prioritise spending "more time with his growing family".

Wicketkeeper and versatile batter De Kock revealed his decision in the aftermath of a 113-run defeat for South Africa against India in the first Test at Centurion on Thursday.

Across 54 internationals in the longest format, the left-handed De Kock managed 3,300 runs at an average of 38.32, including six centuries and 22 half-centuries for the Proteas.

The 29-year-old registered scores of 34 and 21 against Virat Kohli's side in the three-Test series opener, though he was set to miss the second and third Tests after being granted paternity leave for the birth of his first child.

However, he has opted to entirely step away from red-ball cricket to focus on family life, while remaining available for limited-overs selection for the Proteas.

"This is not a decision that I have come to very easily," De Kock said in a statement issued by Cricket South Africa (CSA). "I have taken a lot of time to think about what my future looks like and what needs to take priority in my life now that Sasha and I are about to welcome our first child into this world and look to grow our family beyond that. 

"My family is everything to me and I want to have the time and space to be able to be with them during this new and exciting chapter of our lives.

"I love Test cricket and I love representing my country and all that it comes with. I've enjoyed the ups and the downs, the celebrations and even the disappointments, but now I've found something that I love even more.

"In life, you can buy almost everything except for time, and right now, it's time to do right by the people that mean the most to me.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of my Test cricket journey from the very beginning. To my coaches, team-mates, the various management teams and my family and friends – I couldn't have shown up as I did without your support.

"This is not the end of my career as a Protea, I'm fully committed to white-ball cricket and representing my country to the best of my ability for the foreseeable future.

"All the best to my team-mates for the remainder of this Test series against India. See you in the ODIs and T20s."

De Kock began 2021 as South Africa's temporary Test captain, leading the Proteas against Sri Lanka and Pakistan before being rested for the ODIs against the Netherlands after struggles with COVID-19 bubble life.

He will be sorely missed behind the stumps in the red-ball arena, given he has 232 dismissals – including 221 catches and 11 stumpings – to his name since his Test debut against Australia in 2014.

"It's sad to lose a player of Quinton’s calibre at what we still see as the prime of his career and relatively young life, but family, as we all say here at CSA, is everything," CSA's Acting chief executive officer Pholetsi Moseki added.

"He has been a loyal and proud servant of the Proteas team for the last seven years and we are glad that we have not lost him from the game entirely.

"We value his contribution to the team as a leader and we are grateful for the time and energy that he has given the team in years passed.

"We would like to wish him and Sasha all the best ahead of the birth of their little girl and we are excited to be gaining another member in our cricket family. We look forward to seeing Quinton at his fighting best in white-ball cricket."

Legendary batter Ross Taylor will end his long international career at the conclusion of New Zealand's home summer.

Taylor has established himself as a Black Caps great, scoring a record 18,074 runs in 445 appearances for his country.

The classy 37-year-old made his New Zealand debut back in 2006 and has gone on to become the only player to feature in 100 games in all formats.

Taylor has crafted an incredible 40 hundreds for the Black Caps and made 93 half-centuries, averaging 44.87 in Tests, 48.20 in ODIs and 26.15 in Twenty20 Internationals.

The former New Zealand captain announced on the eve of the two-match Test series against Bangladesh that his international career will end in 2022 following ODIs versus Australia and the Netherlands.

"It's been an amazing journey and I feel incredibly fortunate to have represented my country for as long as I have," he said.

"It's been such a privilege to play with and against some of the greats of the game and to have created so many memories and friendships along the way.

"But all good things must come to an end and the timing feels right for me. I want to thank my family, friends and all those who have helped me get to this point.

"There'll be plenty of time for more thank yous and reflections later in the season – but for now I want all my energy and focus to be on preparing and performing for the Black Caps this summer."

Black Caps head coach Gary Stead said: "Ross has always been a hugely respected member of the side and we’re thankful for his contributions to the Black Caps over an incredible career.

"His skills and temperament as a batsman have been world-class and his ability to perform at such a high level for so long speaks volumes of his longevity and professionalism.

"His experience has held the side together on countless occasions and his catching record [346, the most by a New Zealand fielder] speaks for itself. There's no doubt we’re going to miss him when he's gone.

"Seeing him hit the winning runs in Southampton to help win our first ICC world title is a moment I will never forget and I'm sure it's the same for many of the fans.

"I know Ross is really focused on performing well in these remaining series and going out on the right note."

Among the many highlights in Taylor's career was his 290 against at the WACA in November 2015, the highest Test score by a visiting batter in Australia.

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has announced his retirement from all formats of cricket at the age of 41.

Harbhajan will go down as one of India's greatest spinners, having taken 417 Test wickets in 103 matches.

He sits fourth on the list of his country's leading Test wicket-takers and is India's fifth-highest ODI wicket-taker with 269 tom 236 games.

Harbhajan also played in 28 Twenty20 Internationals, picking up 25 scalps, and also featured for his country in 2016.

The tweaker on Friday revealed that his long, illustrious career has come to an end.

He tweeted: "All good things come to an end and today as I bid adieu to the game that has given me everything in life.

"I would like to thank everyone who made this 23-year-long journey beautiful and memorable. My heartfelt thank you. Grateful."

Harbhajan last played for Kolkata Knight Riders in April.

 

Eoin Morgan will lead a 16-strong T20I squad in England's tour of the West Indies.

The five-match series takes place in Barbados from January 22 to 30, with the first match scheduled only four days after the final Ashes Test is due to end.

Therefore, none of England's Ashes squad have been considered for selection, while Paul Collingwood will stand in for Chris Silverwood as coach.

Morgan's squad still includes 11 players who travelled to the T20 World Cup, with England reaching the semi-finals, only to lose to New Zealand.

Two uncapped players – George Garton and David Payne – were also named.

Dawid Malan is out in Australia with Joe Root's struggling red-ball side, while seamers Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Tom Curran are out injured.

Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are also playing Down Under, as is Ben Stokes, who missed the T20 World Cup to focus on his mental wellbeing.

Tom Banton and Saqib Mahmood are the other players to have been called up who were not involved in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The series marks the continuation of England's preparations for the 2022 T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia.

"We have selected a strong squad with some serious batting power and a balanced attack as we begin preparations ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia," said Collingwood.

"The [T20] World Cup is less than a year away and there will be increased opportunities for the squad in the absence of those players who are with the Ashes squad.

"I have good memories winning a World Cup in Barbados and I'm really looking forward to going back there with this squad to face a very good West Indies who will test all aspects of our skills."

England squad in full:

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Tymal Mill, David Payne, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, James Vince.

Australia's Marnus Labuschagne has risen to number one in the ICC Test batting rankings.

Labuschagne made his Test debut for Australia in 2018 against Pakistan in Dubai. However, it was during the 2019 Ashes that the 27-year-old came to prominence.

He became the first player to be a concussion substitute in a Test match when he replaced Steve Smith in the second match at Lord's, after the former Australia captain had been struck on the back of the neck.

His resilient 59 helped Australia secure a draw and he was named in the line-up for the following Test and has not looked back since.

Labuschagne has averaged 62.14 from 20 Tests, and has scored 74, 0 (not out), 103 and 51 in his four innings in the 2021-22 Ashes as Australia cruised into a 2-0 lead.

He has hit six centuries, including one double-hundred against New Zealand in January 2020.

Labuschagne's career-high 912 rating points saw him leapfrog England captain Joe Root, who has had a brilliant 2021 when it comes to run-scoring, even if his side have struggled.

Indeed, Root has now scored 4,859 runs as England Test captain, surpassing the previous record set by Alastair Cook (4,844).

Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and India's new white-ball captain Rohit Sharma complete the top five.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, meanwhile, has risen to the number one spot for T20I batsmen, though he is tied with England's Dawid Malan.

Mitchell Starc has bowled impressively in the Ashes so far and has moved into the top six for bowlers.

New Zealand will tour Pakistan twice in 2022-23 after the two boards reached an agreement in Dubai last month.

The Black Caps pulled out of a limited-overs series in Pakistan at the last minute due to a government security alert.

Kane Williamson's side will be back in the country to play two Tests and three ODIs from December next year to January 2023.

They will then return for five ODIs and as many Twenty20 Internationals in April 2023 to make up for not facing Pakistan this year.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said: "Our respective chairmen, Ramiz Raja and Martin Snedden, had very fruitful and constructive discussions while in Dubai, further strengthening the bond between the two organisations It’s good to be going back."

Raja the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, said: "I am pleased with the outcomes of our discussions and negotiations, and thank Martin Snedden and his board for their understanding and support.

"This reflects the strong, cordial and historic relations the two boards have, and reconfirms Pakistan's status as an important member of the cricket fraternity."

Virat Kohli has insisted he was not asked to reconsider his decision to step down as India's T20I skipper and says he was not aware he might lose the ODI captaincy.

Kohli confirmed in September that he had decided to take a step back from leading India in the shortest format after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup.

However, he had agreed to stay on as India's ODI and Test captain, and remain available for selection in T20Is.

India failed to progress from the Super 12s in the World Cup, with Rohit Sharma named as captain for the subsequent T20 series against New Zealand.

But on December 8, Rohit was named India's new permanent white-ball captain.

The BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, explained that the selectors felt there would have too much leadership within the white-ball squad had there been two captains for each of the formats.

Ganguly also claimed that Kohli had been asked to stay on as captain. However, the batsman has contradicted this statement.

 

"When I decided to leave the T20I captaincy and approached the BCCI about my decision, it was received well," Kohli told reporters.

"There was no offence or hesitation, I wasn't told to reconsider it. It was received well; I was told it's progressive and it's a step in the right direction.

"Then I told them I'd like to continue in Tests and ODIs, unless the office bearers and selectors feel otherwise.

"My communication was clear in what I wanted to do. I gave them the option, that if they feel I shouldn't [remain captain in Tests and/or ODIs], the decision is in their hands."

Kohli, who is staying on as Test captain, also revealed he was only told of the BCCI's decision to replace him as ODI skipper an hour-and-a-half prior to the squad announcement for India's upcoming red-ball tour of South Africa.

"I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on December 8 for the Test series," Kohli said.

"There was no prior communication to me at all from when I announced the T20I captaincy decision until December 8, when I got a call before the selection meeting.

"The chief selector [Chetan Sharma] discussed with me the Test team, to which we both agreed, and before ending the call I was told the five selectors have decided I will not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, "okay, fine".

"In the selection call afterwards, we chatted about it briefly. That's what happened. There was no communication prior to that at all."

But Kohli is adamant the captaincy call will not impact his preparation for the South Africa Test series.

He added: "To be prepared for a tour like this and to perform to the best of my abilities, nothing has, and nothing can derail me from that.

"A lot of things that happen on the outside are not ideal and not how one expects them to be, but you have to understand you can only do so much as an individual and we have to keep thing in tight perspective and do things that are in your control.

"I'm focussed, mentally prepared, and excited to do the best I can for the team and make the team win."

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has revealed he is "almost at the end of the road" with his recovery from an elbow injury.

Archer has not played since July and was ruled out of the Ashes series in Australia.

The paceman was a frustrated spectator as Joe Root's side were skittled out for only 147 on day one of the series at the Gabba.

But Archer was able to offer some positive news for England fans on a painful day for the tourists.

"It was a tough one to take seeing the ball bouncing and seaming a little bit [when Australia were ripping through the England batting line-up]," he told Channel 7.

"This is one tour as a fast bowler that you really don't want to miss.

"The [scan] results came back yesterday and it was quite promising, actually – everything is moving forward nicely.

"It is just a matter of waiting a little bit more, being a little bit more patient. I am almost at the end of the road."

India sealed a T20I series 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand as Rohit Sharma and Axar Patel guided the home side to a 73-run victory in Kolkata.

The hosts had already dominated against visitors who were beaten by Australia in the T20 World Cup final just a week ago, cruising to consecutive victories to guarantee a series triumph before Sunday's final game.

India opted to bat first at Eden Gardens and raced to 69-0 at the end of the powerplay – their highest score in the first six overs of the series - before Ishan Kishan (29) fell two balls later.

New captain Rohit carried on imperiously, blasting three sixes in his 31-ball 56 to not only become just the second batter to hit 150 maximums in T20I cricket but also to place him top, above Virat Kohli (29), for the most 50-plus scores in the format.

The hosts eventually concluded on 184-7 from their 20-over allocation after Deepak Chahar clubbed 21 from eight deliveries as India collected 50 runs from the final five overs.

New Zealand's response began brightly with 16 taken off Chahar in the second over, but Axar (3-9) removed Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips cheaply to leave the visitors 37-3 after their first six.

Martin Guptill (51) offered the only serious resistance for the tourists, who capitulated to 111 all out to hand India their eighth consecutive match win in T20I bilateral series against New Zealand.


Santer shines as Kiwi bowlers falter

Mitchell Santer (3-27) was the only New Zealand bowler to go for an economy under seven.

While picking up the key wickets of Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant, the left-armer bowled tightly after the powerplay and, with more support, could have limited India to a lower total.

Almost perfect from Axar

Tasked with operating in the powerplay, Axar struck with his first delivery in the match and that set the tone for the rest of the game.

As well as picking up a trio of wickets in quick succession, the off-spinner produced 13 dot balls to concede just nine runs from his three overs.

India captain Rohit Sharma played a central role as his team clinched a T20I series win over World Cup finalists New Zealand with a clinical seven-wicket victory in Ranchi.

After making a valuable 48 when India won the first game in the three-match series by five wickets on Wednesday, Rohit – who took over from Virat Kohli as T20 captain for this series and seems set to be handed the role on a full-time basis – added a rapid 55 on this occasion as he and KL Rahul produced a century opening partnership.

Chasing New Zealand's 153-6, Rahul plundered 65 from 49 balls and Rohit's runs came from just 36 deliveries, before India withstood a slight stumble to get over the line with 16 balls to spare.

Rishabh Pant finished it off with two sixes at the start of the 18th over, with India getting the job done emphatically at JSCA International Stadium Complex.

New Zealand captain Tim Southee's inspired bowling had accounted for both openers and Suryakumar Yadav, but by that point India were almost home and hosed. Pant and Venkatesh Iyer both finished on 12 not out.

The visitors paid the price for being unable to build on a strong platform of their own, having been 79-1 in the ninth over. Martin Guptill thrashed 31 from 15 balls, perishing to a top edge off Deepak Chahar after striking the same bowler for six from the previous delivery.

Harshal Patel had a strong debut for India and his 2-25 included the wicket of middle-order dangerman Glenn Phillips, who hit three sixes, taking his total to 97 in T20 matches at all levels in 2021, making 34 in 21 balls.

The three-match series concludes in Kolkata on Sunday, with India eyeing a clean sweep.

Rohit and Rahul take game away from Kiwis

Trent Boult dropped Rohit on 29 after he sliced into the on side. A wicket at that point, in the 10th over, might have made a difference, but India's opening pair went on to put on 117 and such a foundation meant the outcome became a foregone conclusion. It means the India openers have equalled the most century partnerships in T20I matches, joining Pakistan's Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan on five.

Super Southee efforts in vain

Southee's salvo came too late to majorly affect the outcome, but his bowling was terrific and figures of 3-16 from four overs matched his fifth-best T20I performance, in what was his 92nd appearance in the short format for the Black Caps.

Virat Kohli hailed AB de Villiers as "the best player of our times" after the South Africa legend announced his retirement on Friday.

De Villers called time on his illustrious career at the age of 37 after establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.

A mercurial batsman, brilliant fielder and fine wicketkeeper when called upon to don the gloves, De Villers made 114 Test appearances, playing in 228 ODIs and featured in 78 T20Is.

De Villiers scored an astonishing 20,014 runs at international level and made 47 centuries to go down as a Proteas great.

He was also outstanding for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and Kohli paid a glowing tribute to his former team-mate.

The India Test and ODI captain tweeted: "To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I've met, you can be very proud of what you've done and what you've given to RCB my brother. Our bond is beyond the game and will always be.

"This hurts my heart but I know you've made the best decision for yourself and your family like you've always done. I love you."

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis tweeted: "Well done @ABdeVilliers17 on a special career. I've been extremely lucky to be on the same cricket field as you.

"The game will not be the same without you. The greatest player I have played with."

Cricket South Africa posted: "Thank you for the memories, the records broken and the entertainment @ABdeVilliers17. We salute your contribution to the game and wish you everything of the best for the future."

RCB expressed their gratitude to De Villiers for the impact he made at the IPL franchise. 

"End of an era! There's nobody like you, AB. We'll miss you dearly at RCB. For all that you've done and given to the team, to the fans, and to cricket lovers in general, #ThankYouAB. Happy retirement, legend!" RCB posted.

South Africa legend AB de Villiers has confirmed his retirement from all forms of cricket at the age of 37.

The Proteas great made the announcement on Friday, calling time on a glittering career that saw him win 114 Test caps, feature in 228 ODIs and make 78 T20I outings.

He stepped down from the international stage in 2018 but continued to represent Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, as well as feature in other T20 competitions. 

However, the prolific batsman - an excellent fielder who also donned the wicketkeeping gloves - will no longer showcase his incredible talents after deciding to call it a day.

"It has been an incredible journey, but I have decided to retire from all cricket," he wrote on Twitter.

"Ever since the back yard matches with my older brothers, I have played the game with pure enjoyment and unbridled enthusiasm. Now, at the age of 37, that flame no longer burns so brightly.

"That's the reality I must accept – and, even if it may seem sudden, that is why I am making this announcement. I've had my time. Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me.

"Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me. Whether playing for the Titans, or the Proteas, or RCB, or around the world, the game has given me unimagined experiences and opportunities, and I will always be grateful.

"I would like to thank every team-mate, every opponent, every coach, every physio and every staff member who has travelled the same path, and I am humbled by the support I have received in South Africa, in India, wherever I have played.

"Last, I am aware that nothing would have been possible without the sacrifices made by my family – my parents, my brothers, my wife Danielle and my children. I look forward to the next chapter of our lives when I can truly put them first."

De Villiers last played for South Africa in a Test match against Australia back in March 2018, having debuted against England in 2004.

He scored 8,765 runs in Tests at an average of 50.66, with 22 centuries as well as taking 222 catches, 101 of those as a keeper.

De Villiers was even more impressive in the ODI format, averaging 53.50 and racking up 25 hundreds in 228 appearances, while he made 1,672 runs in T20I 75 knocks at an average of 26.12. 

The veteran's 157 matches for RCB yielded 4,522 runs at a strike rate of 158.33.

New Zealand have had little to time to dwell on their T20 World Cup final heartbreak as they prepare to face India in Jaipur on Wednesday.

The Black Caps missed out being crowned world champions in the shortest format for the first time when they suffered an eight-wicket defeat to Australia at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

A 15-man T20 squad arrived in Jaipur less than 24 hours after that loss and they will look to take their frustration out on India in a three-match series.

Tim Southee will captain New Zealand, with Kane Williamson missing the T20s as he prioritises preparing for a two-Test series that starts on November 25.

It is the beginning of a new era for India after Rahul Dravid replaced Ravi Shastri as head coach and Virat Kohli's reign as T20 captain came to an end.

Rohit Sharma leads India for this series as they look to put the disappointment of missing out on reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals behind them, starting with a first men’s T20I at Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Kohli misses the series along with Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami. Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan are among the players to come into the squad.

New Zealand hammered India by eight wickets in the World Cup, with the Black Caps having lost the previous five T20 matches between the two nations.

 

 

Black Caps set to rotate, Ferguson on the mend

Southee said such an intense schedule and spending so long in bio-secure bubbles has taken a toll on some Black Caps players, revealing how it "weighs you down".

The stand-in skipper suggested the tourists would make full use of their squad and paceman Lockie Ferguson is set to make a welcome return from a calf strain.

He said on Tuesday: "It's [squad rotation] something we have to look at throughout this series of three games in five days, with travel days in between and then a couple of days and then go into a Test series.

"The guys have to be managed throughout the series and we've got a squad of 15 here that were involved in the T20 World Cup which I'm sure we'll use throughout the T20 series."

 

Rohit wants 'fearless' approach

Rohit has never been afraid to take an aggressive approach and the skipper wants the side to take more risks with the bat at the start of a new era, with another T20 World Cup to come next year.

He said: "It's important, especially in this format, that sometimes you just need to go out there and play fearlessly and while doing that, there are chances that you might not always be successful, because it's a short format and you're always challenged.

"The pressure is always there. We certainly will keep an eye on that aspect; that's where the entire set-up will play a big part that wherever that individual bats, and how we want him to bat, goes and does the job for us. If he doesn't then we instil confidence in him that we have full faith in you, just go and do the role for the team. As long as they're trying to do the role for the team, we are happy."

Rohit has scored 352 T20I runs against New Zealand, more than any other India batsman. He made 174 runs in five World Cup knocks at an average of 34.80.

Australia will tour Pakistan for the first time in 24 years, it was announced on Monday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed details of a month-long tour in March and April 2022 comprising three Test matches, three ODIs and one T20I.

The Tests will be held in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore in March, with the latter also hosting the white-ball matches.

While the Tests will form part of the ICC World Test Championship, the one-day matches will be linked to the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, a 13-team event from which seven qualifiers and host nation India will progress to the final tournament in 2023.

Speaking of Australia's first visit since 1998, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said: "I am delighted to welcome Australia to Pakistan. From a personal point of view, it pleases me no end that we'll be engaged in a three-Test match series, connoisseurs delight.

"Australia are one of the high-performing sides and them playing in our backyard for the first time after a gap of 24 years will be a special treat for the fans.

"Likewise, it will be a great opportunity for the Australia cricketers to not only play at our iconic venues but also feel and enjoy the respect, love and hospitality that this great country offers, something which most of their previous generation of cricketers missed out by playing offshore."

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley: "Cricket Australia is excited about the prospect of touring Pakistan next year for what will be a highly anticipated series in a country so incredibly passionate about the game and their national team.

"Pakistan is a formidable opposition with an exceptionally talented team, as evidenced by their dynamic performances in the current ICC Men's T20 World Cup in the UAE.

"We thank the PCB for their considerable efforts in planning for the tour and look forward to continuing to work closely over the coming months to finalise the necessary operations, logistics, security and Covid-19 protocols.

"The safety and welfare of our players and staff remains our number one priority, and we will continue to work with the PCB and relevant agencies to ensure that appropriate and sufficient arrangements are put in place for the tour."

Australia won the series 1-0 in their previous tour of Pakistan, which was their first since Richie Benaud's side won 2-0 in 1959-60.

The previous four series between the countries have been held offshore, most recently in 2018-19, when Pakistan won 1-0 in the United Arab Emirates.

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