Zimbabwe confirm cricket team’s tour of Pakistan

Series was in jeopardy following bus attack in Karachi but Pakistan set to host first Test nation since 2009.

Policemen stand inside the Gaddafi Stadium during preparation ahead of cricket series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in Lahore
Zimbabwe have been promised VIP security for the series [Reuters]

Zimbabwe will fly to Pakistan on Sunday for a limited-overs tour, their coach Dav Whatmore has confirmed.

The tour, the first in six years by a Test-playing nation to Pakistan, was throw in doubt last week when a terrorist attack on a bus killed 47 people in Karachi.

“The tour is going ahead and we leave tonight,” Whatmore said via telephone from Harare.

Tour itinerary
May 22 – 1st T20
May 24 – 2nd T20
May 26 – 1st ODI
May 29 – 2nd ODI
May 31 – 3rd ODI
All matches take place in Lahore

Zimbabwe will play two Twenty20 internationals, starting on May 22, and a three-match ODI series that begins four days later.

All the matches are in Lahore.

Zimbabwe Cricket released a statement on Thursday saying a decision had been reached not to tour on the advice of the country’s supreme sports regulatory authority, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

However, just minutes later the statement was withdrawn and Zimbabwe Cricket spokesman Lovemore Banda said discussions were still ongoing.

Additional security

It is understood that concerns also emanated from the players themselves, some of who were reluctant to travel but have now been persuaded to tour after additional security measures were announced by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Pakistan cricket fans have not seen their team in action at home since 2009 [Getty Images]
Pakistan cricket fans have not seen their team in action at home since 2009 [Getty Images]

Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council will not be sending its match officials for the series.

It cited a report by a security consultant who advised against sending a team of officials to the country.

The PCB has, therefore, appointed its own officials.

Zimbabwe are the first Test-playing nation to tour Pakistan since a 2009 gun attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore left six Pakistani policemen and a van driver dead. Some players and a local umpire were injured.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies