The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday confirmed it had received permission from the government to allow spectators up to 25 per cent of the stadium's capacity in the upcoming ODI and T20i series between Pakistan and New Zealand starting Sep 17, 2021.
The permission for a limited crowd was given by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) — the implementation arm of the National Coordination Committee on Covid-19.
This is New Zealand’s first tour to Pakistan in 18 years wherein the guests will play three One-day Internationals and five Twenty20 Internationals from Sep 17 to Oct 3 at two venues — Rawalpindi and Lahore.
The decision to allow a limited crowd means around 4,500 spectators will be able to attend the ODIs scheduled from Sep 17 to Sep 21, while approximately 5,500 spectators will be able to watch five T20s from Sep 25 to Oct 3.
According to the PCB, only fully vaccinated spectators carrying proof of the vaccination will be allowed entry into the stadium.
The PCB will shortly announce ticket prices and other details of the tour.
PCB chief executive Wasim Khan expressed the belief that spectators were the essence of any sporting event as they created an ambience and atmosphere for the players to excel, perform and enjoy.
In a statement, he said: “We are grateful to the NCOC for allowing the PCB to invite 25pc crowds for the eight matches.”
He said he was hopeful that unvaccinated cricket fans would soon get their jabs in their urge to witness live cricket at stadiums on their home soil.
New Zealand is the first side to visit Pakistan in what will be a bumper 2021-22 season for local cricket fans. Following the tour by the Black Caps, England’s men and women sides will play T20 International fixtures in Karachi before the West Indies are expected to arrive in the port city in December for three ODIs and three T20 Internationals.
Australia is then scheduled to undertake a full tour in February/March in what would be their first trip to Pakistan since 1998.
A bomb blast outside the New Zealand team’s hotel in Karachi in 2002 had cut short the Black Caps’ last Test tour of Pakistan, but they visited again for an ODI series the following year.
Since the 2003 ODI series, Pakistan has thrice hosted New Zealand for ODIs in the United Arab Emirates with the Black Caps winning the 2009-10 and 2014-15 series and drawing the 2018-19 one.
Sept 11: Arrive in Islamabad.
Sept 12-14: Room isolation.
Sept 15-16: Training/practice/intra-squad match
Sept 17: 1st ODI (Rawalpindi).
Sept 19: 2nd ODI (Rawalpindi).
Sept 21: 3rd ODI (Rawalpindi).
Sept 25: 1st T20 International (Lahore).
Sept 26: 2nd T20 International (Lahore).
Sept 29: 3rd T20 International (Lahore).
Oct 1: 4th T20 International (Lahore).
Oct 3: 5th T20 International (Lahore).