Pakistan will play their three ODIs against Zimbabwe in the first week of October © AFP
Pakistan will tour Zimbabwe for three Twenty20 matches and three ODIs between September 24 and October 5, Wilson Manase, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, has confirmed. The teams were initially set to play the series between August 17 and September 7, but that plan was "unanimously" put on hold, presumably over Pakistan's unwillingness to jeopardise their qualification for the 2017 Champions Trophy.
As per the current schedule, the T20 matches will be played first, starting September 26, while the three ODIs will be played in the first week of October, beyond the cut-off date for the Champions Trophy. Pakistan are currently eighth in the ODI rankings with 90 points, while West Indies are ninth with 88; the result of the Zimbabwe series will not affect Pakistan's position.
"We have dealt with the tour outline with my PCB counterpart Shahryar Khan. The management of our respective boards will now continue to fine-tune the tour schedule," Manase said, before adding that he was also talking to the WICB over a possible home series against West Indies, given the free dates in August.
Pakistan had initially agreed to play a limited-overs series in Zimbabwe this year during the only available window, in August. This was intended to reciprocate Zimbabwe's tour of Pakistan in May, which helped Pakistan host their first international series in the country in six years.
The confusion regarding Pakistan's tour of Zimbabwe arose when ZC floated an idea of a tri-nation series involving West Indies, as the PCB was reluctant to play any series that could possibly harm their qualification for the Champions Trophy. To play it safe, ZC proposed pushing the ODIs to October, an idea which was instantly accepted by the PCB.