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Zimbabwe cricket team reaches Pakistan

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Lahore, May 19 (IANS) Zimbabwe on Tuesday became the first International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Full Member to reach Pakistan in six years, following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.

The Zimbabwean team landed at the Allama Iqbal International Airport here in the wee hours of Tuesday to tour Pakistan for two Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals (ODI), all to be played at the Gaddafi Stadium here between May 22 and 31 before departing on June 1, reports ESPNcricinfo.

The visitors landed amid extensive security with thousands of policemen deployed along the 14 km route from the airport to the hotel. The team, comprising 16 players, nine team officials and five board officials, was flanked by a large convoy of police commandos after they were received by Pakistani ministers and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials.

Pakistan became a no-go destination for international teams since March 3, 2009, when gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus while it was en route to the Gaddafi Stadium to play the third day of the second Test. Eight people were killed during the attack and some players were injured.

Since then, Pakistan have been forced to play their home matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Afghanistan, who received Associate status from ICC last year, visited Pakistan several times but their fixtures were low profile. Kenya was the first country from outside the region to tour Pakistan and played five one-dayers last December against Pakistan A.

Zimbabwe’s arrival also comes after days of uncertainty. However, the ICC is not sending its officials to stand in the games and allowed PCB to appoint its own officials.

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