ECB security delegation to inspect facilities in Pak

Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:A two-man England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) delegation will arrive in Pakistan on June 28 to inspect playing facilities and security arrangements ahead of its team's winter tour of Pakistan.

Abbas Zaidi, Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) director (Board operations), said from Lahore that the two-man team would be joined by two more ECB officials, including Any Carr (manager, cricket operations), a week later.

"The ECB officials will inspect all the Test centres and review security arrangements," Zaidi said, adding, "Karachi is very much in the tour schedule of the ECB officials."

Besides Karachi, the ECB officials will also visit Faisalabad, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

The ECB has expressed reservations playing in Karachi, not because it believes that its team will be a target but because "they don't want to be trapped in crossfire".

England would arrive in Pakistan on October 22 on their first tour in five years and will play three Tests and five One-day Internationals.

"If required, a security briefing from law enforcing agencies will be arranged for ECB visiting team. The ECB officials will also visit Interior Ministry in Islamabad to exchange notes and information with Pakistan officials," Zaidi said.

Zaidi said the England team's tour itinerary would only be worked out after the ECB officials submit their report.

"After the previous visit (of the Indian security delegation), we are optimistic and confident that we will be able to convince England to play Test in Karachi.

"Karachi is an important Test centre and we are committed to protect its status as an important venue," Zaidi said.

The visit of the ECB officials will certainly be closely monitored by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials, who are scheduled to send their team to Pakistan in January next year for three Tests and five One-day Internationals.

India skipped Karachi and Peshawar for Tests citing security concerns but played One-day Internationals on those venues.

Earlier this year, Pakistan did not agree to play a Test match at Ahmedabad citing security concerns but instead played an additional One-day International.

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