Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Indian cricket team arrives in Pakistan

Published: Saturday, October 19, 2002, 20:54 [IST]
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Lahore:India's cricket team arrived in Lahore for their historic first tour of Pakistan in more than 14 years, officials said.

"The plane carrying the Indian team has landed," airport security official Asif Iqbal saidon Wednesday.

A special Indian Airlines plane carrying the 15-member team and officials landed at Lahore's heavily-guarded Allama Iqbal International airport at 1:47 pm (0847 GMT).

The team were greeted by officials from the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Lahore city administration. The airport's exit and entry routes were tightly guarded by police and only photographers and television crews were allowed inside to record the team's arrival.

India last toured Pakistan for a Test series in 1989 but made a short one-week visit in 1997 for a series of three One-day Internationals.

Captain Sourav Ganguly and his players were seen off at New Delhi's airport an hour earlier by hundreds of fans, after Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee farewelled them personally at his official residence.

"We always travel as ambassadors of the country but people are looking at this tour differently because we are going to Pakistan," Ganguly said before leaving New Delhi.

India will play five One-day matches starting Saturday and three Test matches on the 40-day tour.

A full security contingent of police and elite force commandoes were assigned to accompany the team in a bullet-proof bus along blocked-off streets to the plush Pearl Continental hotel in the heart of Lahore.

The Indian tour marks one of the biggest milestones in a slow peace process that began almost one year ago when Vajpayee offered his "hand of friendship" to Pakistan.

The nuclear armed neighbours came close to their fourth war two years ago.

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