By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – South Africa’s cricket team arrived in the southern port city of Karachi on Saturday for their first tour of Pakistan in 14 years.
The visitors will play two Tests and three T20 matches against an embattled Pakistani team still reeling from a disappointing tour of New Zealand that ended earlier this month.
The 21-member South African squad, led by wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, had two COVID-19 tests before departure from Johannesburg, which all returned negative.
The visitors were further tested on arrival in Karachi.
Pakistan will be led by batsman Babar Azam, who was sidelined in New Zealand with a thumb fracture, and their squad includes nine debutants.
According to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the teams will stay in individual isolation until results of the first round of tests are received.
Once the quarantine period ends, they will start training ahead of the first Test match in Karachi, set to start on Jan. 26.
The second five-day match will be played in the garrison city of Rawalpindi from Feb. 4.
The three T20 games will be held in the northeastern city of Lahore on Feb. 11, 13, and 14, the PCB announced.
The two teams last met in Pakistan in 2007 when South Africa beat the hosts 1-0 in a two-match Test series.
International cricket has gradually returned to Pakistan since 2015, following years of suspension after a 2009 terrorist attack on a touring Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.
South Africa are now the fourth country to tour Pakistan in the past 15 months, after Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe.