Fancy six weeks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai? Sounds like cabin fever in the making but that's New Zealand's cricketers lot for their away series against Pakistan late this year.

The schedule was finally revealed yesterday and whereas previous visits have also included matches in Sharjah, this time it's nine matches in the two venues, shuttling back and forth for three games in each format.

The schedule had been expected weeks ago. The popular theory for the holdup was the crowning of Imran Khan, World Cup-winning captain in 1992, as Pakistan's latest Prime Minister.

His arrival brought a hasty change at the top of Pakistan cricket, with Najam Sethi, no chum of Imran, resigning with indecent haste and Ehsan Mani taking over. The idea that did the rounds was the Pakistan Cricket Board officials were rejoicing in the champion allrounder's rise to leader of his country, and all matter of fact business went in the On Hold tray.


The New Zealand squad will make the journey between Abu Dhabi and Dubai six times.

New Zealand had been asked to consider playing the T20 leg in Pakistan, but turned down the request on security grounds.

Their last visit was 2003, when they were bounced 5-0 in an ODI series. A year earlier a bomb blast near their hotel had curtailed that trip.

Since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists in Lahore in 2009, visits to Pakistan have been sporadic, short, heavily-fortified engagements against a handful of teams, totally nine T20s and three ODIs from 2015 until April when the West Indies were there in Karachi for three T20s.

Since 2009, from when New Zealand have played only bilateral away matches against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, they have had seven wins, and seven losses there plus one drawn test in 2014.

Two of the three tests which round off the visit, will be in Abu Dhabi with the middle one in Dubai.

A New Zealand A team are visiting there shortly before New Zealand.