COLOMBO: Sri Lankan spinner Lakshan Sandakan bowls as team-mate Nuwan Pradeep looks on during a practice session at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Thursday.—AFP
COLOMBO: Sri Lankan spinner Lakshan Sandakan bowls as team-mate Nuwan Pradeep looks on during a practice session at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Thursday.—AFP

KARACHI: As Sri Lanka are scheduled to play three One-day Internationals in Karachi with the first match on Sept 27, the security administration in the metropolis has envisaged a detailed security plan to provide the visiting squad status of state guests.

The Sri Lankans would be receiving security protocol given to head of state that would lead to strict measures and alternative traffic plans for the Karachiites for at least three days, officials sources said on Thursday.

The security administration and the authorities have already finalised their plans to ensure smooth and uninterrupted staging of international cricket that would take a week to complete before the Sri Lankans head to Lahore for the three Twenty20 Internationals.

“The administration is repeating the same security proposal for the Sri Lankan cricketers and officials it had designed for the Pakistan Super League matches in February and March this year,” said a source privy to security arrangements. “The team members and officials will have status of state guests while security protocols of head of state would be followed for the foreign players and staff. It requires certain measures few of which include VVIP protocol at the airport, zero traffic during their movement, air security cover during movement and matches and air evacuation plan.”

The officials from both the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and security apparatus are giving final touches to the arrangements for the upcoming matches which bring international cricketers back in the city less than six months after the PSL final was played in March.

“Primarily the security job would be handled by the Sindh Police and Pakistan Rangers,” the source said. “The troops of Pakistan army would also be there for assistance and backup support. The units of paramilitary Rangers would be deployed at certain place while the police commandos — known as the Special Security Unit — would be assigned close protection. The movement of the cricketers and officials would be highly secured and swift.”

However, he brushed aside any concern or impression of security nuisance for any segment s of the society or visiting foreigners as the plan would be executed in a way which would not affect people’s routine and regular life.

“There would be blockades of certain roads and comprehensive alternate traffic plan but it doesn’t mean that it would move the city life upside down,” he said and referred to successfully-concluded mega events in the city in the recent past to support his argument. “For last several years we have been hosting the mega cricket events which witnessed arrival of hundreds of international cricketers, foreign delegates and known personalities around the world in Karachi.

“Since PSL-3 final in March 2018, we had organised major cricketing events in the city which include the three-match T20 series against the West Indies in April 2018, the West Indies women’s team matches last January and eight matches of PSL-4 in the city this year.”

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2019