23 September, 2014 / Ziqa'ad 27, 1435

NEW DELHI, Dec 7: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is happy with the security arrangements being made for a tour of India that will revive cricketing ties between the two neighbouring countries, a PCB official said on Friday.

Nadeem Sarwar, PCB general manager media, was part of a four-man team that visited India to inspect preparations.

“We’ve visited all five venues and are satisfied with the arrangements including security and facilities for spectators from Pakistan,” Nadeem said on Friday. “This advance team has been looking into all logistics and not just security.”

Pakistan will stay in India from Dec 22 to Jan 6 to play three One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 games in the first bilateral series between the countries in five years.

The last series between the two neighbours was when Pakistan visited India in November 2007. Cricket ties were broken after a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed, with India blaming Pakistan for the tragedy.

India and Pakistan have since played each other in International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments, including in the 2011 World Cup semi-final at the northern Indian city of Mohali.

Cricket officials from both countries held a series of meetings in Dubai, Chennai and Malaysia to work out the resumption of cricketing ties, while PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf met several government and BCCI officials when he came to watch this year’s Indian Premier League final in May.

“This is a very important series because when Zaka Ashraf took over as chairman of the PCB he had identified two things as crucial for us — one was the revival of international cricket series in Pakistan and the other the resumption of ties with India,” Nadeem stated.

Pakistan’s tour will start with Twenty20 games at Bangalore on Dec 25 and Ahmedabad on Dec 27, while the ODIs are scheduled to be played in Chennai on Dec 30, Kolkata on Jan 3 and New Delhi on Jan 6.

“This is a small tour but a good beginning,” Nadeem remarked. “We expect that things will move forward from here and that we’ll host India in the near future. We’re open to playing our home series against India at a neutral venue, too. But we hope that a new beginning will be made with some international team visiting us soon.”

Pakistan have been playing their home series at neutral venues, usually the United Arab Emirates, as all Test teams have avoided Pakistan since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team convoy at Lahore in March 2009.

Nadeem said about 500 spectators will come from Pakistan for each game, with 1,000 expected for the New Delhi match.

“This is the first time spectators from Pakistan will tour so many cities, because in the past it has been mostly Delhi and Mohali,” Nadeem said. “We’ve requested local authorities to set up special facilitation booths for visitors from Pakistan.”—AP


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