Pakistan vs Zimbabwe series: Security rehearsal for tour

Tickets sale starts for Pakistan and Zimbabwe series in Lahore

By Agencies

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Published: Mon 18 May 2015, 12:24 AM

Last updated: Fri 12 Jan 2024, 8:15 AM

Hundreds of Pakistani policemen featured in a dress rehearsal on Saturday to provide security for a planned visit by Zimbabwe’s cricket team to the eastern city of Lahore.

Zimbabwe is set to be the first Test-playing nation to tour Pakistan since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team bus — also in Lahore — in 2009. Six police officials and a van driver were killed during the ambush while several Sri Lankan team members were wounded.

On Saturday, two blue-coloured team buses were shown surrounded by at least a dozen police vans in television footage from Allama Iqbal International Airport where Zimbabwe is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.

Dozens of police officials monitored security arrangements at the Gaddafi Stadium, which is scheduled to host two Twenty20s and three one-day internationals in a 10-day period starting May 22.

Geo Television said that at least 3,000 policemen will be inside the 27,000-seat stadium during the matches.

Two helipads — one close to Gaddafi Stadium and another near the team hotel — will also be built in case of emergency. A special surveillance centre has been established near the stadium to monitor security arrangements.

Ticket sales began on Saturday and inside the stadium workers were busy repairing spectators’ stands.

“This is exciting,” said Ishan Raza, waving his ticket for the first Twenty20 match on May 22.

“I have been waiting for this day for sometime now and will try to watch as many matches as possible,” Raza said.

The colourful tickets, which the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said range in price from Rs150 ($1.50) to Rs1,500 ($15.00), include the message “igniting a passion which brings a nation together”.

The second Twenty20 match will be played on May 24 followed by three one-day internationals on May 26, 29, and 31. Zimbabwe’s tour was jeopardised after militants killed 45 minority Shiites on a bus in the southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe Cricket first issued a statement on Thursday, saying it had called off the tour, but later said the negotiations were on.

ZC chairman Wilson Manase told Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan that he had security clearance from the Zimbabwe government to go ahead with the tour.

The PCB said it had received written confirmation from ZC late Friday night that it will send its team to Pakistan. — Agencies

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