England cricketers will tour Pakistan next year for the first time since a deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus, the English and Wales Cricket Board announced on Wednesday.

England will play two Twenty20 internationals in Karachi on October 14 and 15 in a move hailed as a “significant moment for both nations” by the ECB’s chief executive officer Tom Harrison.

“It’s a real pleasure to announce that the England men’s IT20 squad will be playing in Pakistan in October 2021,” said Harrison in a statement.

“This will be the first time since 2005 that an England team has toured Pakistan and as such it represents a significant moment for both nations.”

Harrison added that the priority would be to ensure the squad operated under the greatest security possible.

“As always, the safety and welfare of our players and staff will be paramount,” he said.

“We are working closely with the PCB to ensure all the necessary plans are in place, especially concerning the anticipated levels of security around the team, the proposed travel protocols and of course the situation regarding the fast-moving and ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic.”

His Pakistan counterpart Wasim Khan said England’s tour was confirmation of the positive steps Pakistan had taken in assuring security for visiting teams.

“England’s visit to Pakistan for the 14 and 15 October 2021 T20Is will provide further lift to our passionate fans,” said Khan in a statement.