PCB says Zimbabwe officially confirms its tour to Pakistan
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Zimbabwe Cricket has officially confirmed it will be sending its team to Pakistan as per schedule next week, a Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman said Friday.
Agha Akbar told The Associated Press that ZC has confirmed the tour “in writing” to the PCB late Friday and the tourists will arrive in Lahore early next Tuesday for two Twenty20s and three ODIs.
Earlier, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and his ZC counterpart Wilson Manase talked three times by telephone since confusion arose on Thursday when Zimbabwe canceled the tour, then deferred the decision to Friday.
Khan said Manase told him the tour will go ahead, and Khan asked him to send confirmation in writing.
“Wilson Manase told me he has got the clearance from his government to go, and he will send it in writing too,” Khan said.
Khan said on all three occasions, Manase reassured him about the tour, the first by a test-playing nation to Pakistan in more than six years. Manase also said he will accompany the team.
The tour was jeopardized after militants killed 45 minority Shiite on a bus in the southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Zimbabwe government, which must clear all sports tours, recommended the cricketers not go to Pakistan over security concerns. Zimbabwe Cricket initially announced the tour was canceled, but less than 30 minutes later said there was no decision yet.
Test teams stopped visiting Pakistan after the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by gunmen en route to a test in 2009 in Lahore. Six police and a driver were killed, and several Sri Lankans wounded.
Zimbabwe had already gone against the advice of the international players’ association in agreeing to the tour.
ZC managing director Alistair Campbell was just in Lahore last week with a delegation from Zimbabwe, and said they were excited about the tour, and that Pakistan “left no stone unturned to make sure that we will be safe.”
A meeting of organizing committee of the series was held at Gaddafi Stadium on Friday and the ticket sales will begin from Saturday.
“The preparations for the tour are in full swing and this morning we had a meeting of the organizing committee to tie all the loose ends,” PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad said in a statement.
“From the inquiries and feedback that we are getting, people are really eager to come and watch the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.”