Cricket: 18-year cricketing hiatus ends with first one-day international between Blackcaps and Pakistan

On Friday night, an 18 year cricketing hiatus will come to an end, when the Blackcaps play Pakistan in Pakistan for the first time since 2003.

Despite memories of the ill-fated 2002 tour still hanging over the side, the team has no fears for their safety and are relishing the chance to be back.

"We know how far Pakistan has come along," says all-rounder Rachin Ravindra.

"We feel really safe here and it's good to be able to play out in these sort of conditions, and having a crowd will be incredible. 

"I know they'll want cricket here for a long time so it's good to be able to showcase our talents."

Those talents haven't been on display on Pakistan soil since 2003 - the last time the Blackcaps toured to the middle eastern nation following a bomb blast outside the team hotel the year before.

Former opener Mark Richardson was part of the squad that was forced to flee Pakistan early and thinks the tour is an encouraging step forward.

"It's just great that world cricket is going back to a country that is steeped in cricketing tradition and legacy back on their turf," Richardson says.

"I think that's brilliant for world cricket."

And that's a sentiment shared by the Blackcaps. 

A lot has changed over the last 18 years and captain Tom Latham insists the side are more than comfortable returning. 

"We feel reasonably safe here," Latham says.

"New Zealand Cricket and our players association have all the protocols in place to keep us safe and we certainly feel that way."

And regardless of how the series pans out, Friday's first ODI will be a memorable one as the two proud cricketing nations reunite on Pakistan soil.