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Indian squad arrives in Pakistan
January 06, 2006 10:39 IST
The Indian cricket squad arrived in Pakistan on Thursday night amidst stringent security and with no noticeable crowds present to welcome them at Allama Iqbal International Airport.
Unlike 2004 when they last toured Pakistan, there were no crowds waiting outside the airport building in the chilly weather to welcome the Indian cricketers and officials with banners and placards.
"We have over 500 elite force policemen and paramilitary forces guarding the airport and the route to the hotel," a senior police officer told Reuters as the aircraft touched down after a three and a half-hour delay.
Six paramilitary armoured cars, each carrying 12 fully armed personnel, would give the team bus a clean passageway to the hotel, he said.
Barricades had also been set up at the entrance of the terminal building to allow the players and officials to come out and board their bus quickly.
The Indian squad arrived without four players, former captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Virender Sehwag, senior pro Anil Kumble and reserve keeper Parthiv Patel who have stayed behind to complete appearances in the Ranji Trophy. They will join the squad on Saturday.
Pakistan Cricket Board official Zakir Khan said the board had worked closely with the government and law enforcement agencies to provide foolproof security to the Indian team, who are on their second visit to Pakistan in two years.
"We want this tour to also be completed smoothly as it was in 2004," Khan said.
India have agreed to play a test match in the southern port city of Karachi. On their last visit they refused to play a test there because of security concerns and settled for a one-dayer.
The flight that brought the Indian team to Lahore was delayed due to inclement winter weather, which also threatens to disrupt the series.
India play three Tests and five one-day internationals on their 45-day tour starting with a three-day game in Lahore from Saturday.
India won both the Test and one-day series on their previous tour of Pakistan in 2004.
Squad: Rahul Dravid (capt), Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Gautam Gambhir, Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Dhoni, Parthiv Patel, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh
Manager: Raj Singh Dungarpur. Coach: Greg Chappell
Jan 7-9 - Three-day tour match, Lahore
Jan 13-17 - First Test, Lahore
Jan 21-25 - Second Test, Faisalabad
Jan 29-Feb 2 - Third Test, Karachi
Feb 6 - First one-day match, Peshawar
Feb 11 - Second one-day match, Rawalpindi
Feb 13 - Third one-day match, Lahore
Feb 16 - Fourth one-day match, Multan
Feb 19 - Fifth one-day match, Karachi