English security experts to assess situation in Pakistan

Published: Sunday, June 26, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Two experts will visit Pakistan to assess security before England's cricket tour after the English expressed reservations about playing a Test in violence-plagued Karachi, officials said.

"The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has shown reservation over playing a Test in Karachi," said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Abbas Zaidi on Sunday.

He said the local Board will try to persuade them the city is safe for a Test.

After receiving the security report, John Carr of the ECB and Richard Bevan, a representatives of the English players association, will tour Pakistan from July 3 to finalise venues for the tour, said Zaidi.

Experts from the Oliver Security Agency which works for the ECB will be briefed by the PCB, police and interior ministry officials at all the venues but Karachi is top on their agenda.

England are due to tour Pakistan for three Tests and five One-day games from October to December.

The southern port city of Karachi is plagued by ethnic, political and sectarian violence as well as terrorism in the past few years.

It has been rejected as a Test venue by South Africa and India since a bomb blast outside the New Zealand's team hotel in May 2002 killed 14 people including 11 French naval engineers.

England won a Test in Karachi on their last trip in 2000.

But since 9/11 and its aftermath, foreign teams like Australia and the West Indies have refused to play in Pakistan over security fears.

England's itinerary does not include Peshawar because of its close proximity to Afghanistan.

Apart from Karachi the other proposed venues are Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad.

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