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LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Tuesday announced its men’s side will play 10 additional T20Is against New Zealand in the 2023-24 season as part of its strategic decision to provide best preparation opportunities for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

Following three ICC World Test Championship matches in Australia from December 14, 2023 to January 7, 2024 Pakistan will travel to New Zealand for five T20Is, which will kick-start their T20 World Cup preparations. These matches will be held from January 12-21.

New Zealand will make a return visit to Pakistan in April 2024 for five T20Is to fill the vacant window. Details of the series will be released closer to time.

The additional series will mean in the lead up to the T20 World Cup, to be co-hosted by the West Indies and the USA in June 2024. Pakistan will play 19 T20Is (10 vs New Zealand, three vs the Netherlands, two vs Ireland and four vs England). In addition to the 19 international matches, the PCB will also host its own cut-throat HBL Pakistan Super League 2024 in February/March 2024.

To schedule the additional T20Is, the PCB, in consultation with Cricket West Indies and New Zealand Cricket, has made slight changes to its Future Tours Programme 2023-2025. The two ICC World Test Championship fixtures against the West Indies, originally planned in Pakistan in February 2024, will now be held in January 2025. Likewise, Pakistan’s tour to New Zealand for three ODIs and five T20Is, originally scheduled in January 2025, will now take place in April 2025.

It may be noted that Pakistan and New Zealand recently played a highly-competitive and entertaining five-match T20I series in April/May in Lahore and Rawalpindi, which ended in a two-all draw. Prior to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia, Pakistan had featured and won the T20I series in Christchurch with Bangladesh as the third side.

New Zealand and Pakistan are ranked third and fourth, respectively in the ICC T20I Team Rankings with just two points separating them.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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