England cricketers to fly out to Pakistan tonight in first tour of country in 17 years

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England leave on Wednesday night for their first visit to Pakistan since 2005, for seven T20s that precede a Test series later this year.

England fly to Karachi this evening, led by Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali, for a lengthy series that begins on Tuesday. It will provide preparation for the T20 World Cup in Australia next month, although England have a number of injured players on the plane, including Buttler.

England have not been to Pakistan for 17 years. In 2009, the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked in Lahore, resulting in the death of eight people and a period of cricketing nomadism for Pakistan, which saw them host England in the UAE in 2012 and 2015.

England were meant to tour for T20s last year, but pulled out amid much criticism. Tonight marks the first of two tours this year, with three Tests in December.

In the squad for the T20s will be David Saker, the Australian bowling coach who worked with England between 2010 and 2015 and has been hired as a consultant until the end of the World Cup.

When the group moves to Australia, they will be joined by Mike Hussey, the great Australian batter, who also joins as a consultant coach to support Matthew Mott. From the ECB, coaches Richard Dawson and Carl Hopkinson make the trip as assistant coaches.

The only member of the 20-man squad travelling to Pakistan involved in the Test victory at the Kia Oval on Monday is Harry Brook. Alex Hales returns for the first time since his suspension for recreational drugs in 2019, having been recalled to replace the injured Jonny Bairstow.