PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan calls for more Asian support
LAHORE – Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan hopes that Zimbabwe’s tour of the country will be a proving ground for others and has called on their Asian rivals to lead the way.
Zimbabwe are the first Test-playing nation to tour Pakistan since a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore left the driver dead and several players injured.
Zimbabwe play two Twenty20 internationals, starting on Friday, and three one-day internationals, all in the same city as that gun attack six years ago.
Khan said the tour would prove Pakistan could protect touring teams, even if he did suggest they were still learning about how to attain the safest measures for visiting sides.
“There is a lot of anticipation for this series as we are hopeful it will open doors for more tours in the future,” the PCB chief told reporters on Thursday.
“More importantly, it will also allow us and the government and security agencies to practically assess what more can be done to make touring sides more secure.”
Having already sent invitations to regional rivals India and Bangladesh, Khan said it was now time for sub-continental teams to follow Zimbabwe’s lead.
“India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh all need to give us more support to help us bring back regular international cricket to Pakistan,” he said.
The PCB chief gave an indication of the tight security that will be in place on match day, which includes a lockdown of the area around the Gaddafi Stadium.
“The law enforcement agencies are using jammers and fans will have to pass through three layers of security, including metal detectors,” he said, adding shops and restaurants close to the venue had been told to shut while the tour was ongoing.
He also took the unusual step of asking Pakistan fans to get behind their opponents as a show of gratitude to the tourists.
“Zimbabwe has given us a lot of support by undertaking this tour despite pressure on them, so we also urge the public to cheer their team along with our team as well,” he said.