Pakistan News

Zimbabwe delegation ‘satisfied’ with security arrangements

Zimbabwe delegation ‘satisfied’ with security arrangements

LAHORE: A six-member delegation of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), headed by its managing director Alistair Campbell, expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to host Zimbabwe team later this month.

Zimbabwe are due to visit Pakistan for a 10-day tour comprising three One-day Internationals and two T20 matches from May 20 to June 1 with all matches set to be played here at the Gaddafi Stadium.

The single venue has been decided since the PCB wants to avoid travelling between the cities for matches as a Test-playing nation tours the country for the first time since 2009 when the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by terrorists on its way to the Gaddafi Stadium.

The delegation, which reached the city in the early hours of Wednesday, visited the National Cricket Academy (NCA), where the players will stay for the length of the tour.

They also went to the Gaddafi Stadium and the control room established in the Sports Board Punjab (SBP) offices located in the National Hockey Stadium to monitor the entire Nishtar Park Sports Complex before being briefed by security agencies about the arrangements.

PCB Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad and Campbell spoke for a while with reporters at the stadium before leaving without taking any questions.

“I’m satisfied with the arrangements but I’ve to do a couple more things before informing the authorities back home to confirm the tour,” Campbell, a former Test cricketer, said.

“As a player, I toured Pakistan five to six times and always enjoyed cricket in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Sheikhupura,” he said, adding that the matches only being held in Lahore was “just a start”.

He also said that the Zimbabweans will also engage in other social activities during the tour by participating in the opening ceremony of the Punjab International Sports Festival (PISF) which begins on May 20.

Campbell, however, took questions after being briefed about the arrangements at the control room by SBP director general Usman Anwar.

When asked if a full-strength Zimbabwe team would come to Pakistan as international cricketers’ body FICA had advised them against doing so, Campbell said the Zimbabwean cricketers were “on board and a best available team would tour Pakistan”.

He also said that Zimbabwe’s tour would provide the world of cricket an idea that Pakistan is safe. “At the moment, I’m just focusing on the Zimbabwe tour and hopefully it will show the world that Pakistan is safe.”

Campbell also appreciated the standard of the control room and said most advanced CCTV system was working there.

Usman said the control room covers all areas of the Nishtar Sports Complex where the Gaddafi Stadium, National Hockey Stadium, LCCA Ground, Punjab Stadium and PFF House are situated.

“The upcoming Punjab International Sports Festival (PISF) and tour of Zimbabwe cricket team will be of great significance for the revival of international cricket and other sports events,” Usman said.

The delegation was also shown a documentary film on previous editions of the Punjab Sports Festivals, where thousands of spectators were seen watching the sporting activities in the National Hockey Stadium.

To a question Campbell said as per the MoU signed between the two cricket boards, Pakistan would also tour Zimbabwe in August this year.

“I thank the PCB and the security agencies for all the security measures that have been put in place and we are looking forward to having an exciting series in two weeks’ time,” Campbell said in a PCB news release.

Along with Campbell, Tamuka Priveledge Mapfumo (Zimbabwe Players Representative), Pachavo Christian Chiketa (Zimbabwe Team manager and Cricket Operations Manager), Johannes Marthinus Barnard (Zimbabwe Cricket Security Consultant), Manjoro Robson (Zimbabwe Cricket Security Consultant) and Khalid Tareen (Independent Security Official, reporting to ICC) are also part of the delegation.

The delegation was accompanied by Subhan, director international cricket operations Zakir Khan, director HR and administration Brig Sajid Hameed and head of PCB’s security Col Mohammad Azam Khan.

“This visit by ZC and its security delegation is meant to oversee the arrangements, in particular the security measures that have been put in place,” Subhan said in the news release.

“We have given them an exhaustive briefing with more to follow. We hope we have made the delegation’s visit as comfortable as we can. We are positive about Zimbabwe’s visit — the first by a Test-playing nation in six years — shall be a success and a harbinger of many more to come.”

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2015

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