Heavy se­cu­rity in place for Windies se­ries, no prac­tice ses­sions

Stabroek News Sunday - - SUNDAY SPORT -

KARACHI, Pak­istan, CMC – Pres­i­den­tial-style se­cu­rity, in­clud­ing bul­let­proofed buses, will be af­forded West Indies on their his­toric three-match Twenty20 se­ries against Pak­istan start­ing here to­day.

Heavy se­cu­rity will be pro­vided for the Caribbean side to and from the air­port and while they are sta­tioned at their ho­tel. They will travel to the air­port im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the fi­nal match on Tues­day.

The Pak­istan Cricket Board has gone to great lengths to en­sure that se­cu­rity for the 13-man squad and of­fi­cials will be at an op­ti­mum, with strict traf­fic guide­lines around the Na­tional Sta­dium venue be­ing im­ple­mented on match days.

Food and mo­bile phone charg­ers will be barred from the sta­dium dur­ing matches.

Author­i­ties said the in­tense se­cu­rity mea­sures would mir­ror those put in place for the re­cent Pak­istan Su­per League fi­nal, also staged in Karachi.

Twenty20 cap­tain Car­los Brath­waite … has opted not to travel for the se­ries.

“The In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil has ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the se­cu­rity ar­range­ments for the PSL fi­nal and this time the author­i­ties will en­sure fool­proof se­cu­rity again,” said Brigadier Shahid of the Sindh Rangers.

West Indies are sched­uled to ar­rive here from Dubai late Satur­day on two dif­fer­ent flights, with the first group due at 9:30 pm (12:30 pm East­ern Caribbean time) and the se­cond at 12:15 am.

The squad will not prac­tice be­fore the open­ing match and there also will be no joint cap­tains pre­series me­dia con­fer­ence. West Indies have not trav­elled with a me­dia of­fi­cer.

No me­dia or pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties sur­round­ing the matches have been planned.

Pak­istan, though, was sched­uled to stage a me­dia con­fer­ence last evening, just prior to their sched­uled train­ing ses­sion at the Na­tional Sta­dium.

The se­ries rep­re­sents the first time a ma­jor Test­play­ing na­tion will tour Pak­istan, break­ing a nineyear ab­sence of elite sides from the of­ten volatile Asian coun­try.

Pak­istan have been forced to play all their home se­ries in United Arab Emi­rates ever since 2009 when mil­i­tants at­tacked a Sri Lankan team bus in La­hore, in­jur­ing sev­eral play­ers and killing mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces.

In a bid to ac­cel­er­ate the re­turn of in­ter­na­tional cricket to the coun­try, the PCB staged the last two fi­nals of the PSL in La­hore and Karachi re­spec­tively.

The suc­cess­ful host­ing of last Septem­ber’s In­de­pen­dence Cup in La­hore, in­volv­ing a World XI, also strength­ened the PCB’s bid.

West Indies will field a de­pleted side for the se­ries, how­ever, with sev­eral of the lead­ing play­ers – in­clud­ing Cap­tain Car­los Brath­waite – opt­ing out due to se­cu­rity con­cerns.

Cricket West Indies, who ac­knowl­edged the se­ries for the first time two days ago while an­nounc­ing the squad, said they had been as­sured by in­de­pen­dent se­cu­rity ad­vi­sors East­ern Star In­ter­na­tional that “risk is man­age­able and can be mit­i­gated to an ac­cept­able level.”

CWI director of cricket, Jimmy Adams and Windies Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (WIPA) chief, Wavell Hinds, will travel for the se­ries.

Ge­off Al­lardice, general manager of cricket’s world gov­ern­ing body, the ICC, is also ex­pected to at­tend.

Some mem­bers of the West Indies cricket team sport­ing ajrak upon their ar­rival in Pak­istan. (Photo cour­tesy Cricket West Indies)

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