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'Pakistan is a safe country to play cricket'

May 26, 2015 17:21 IST
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Police watch as members of the Zimbabwe cricket team practise

Police watch as members of the Zimbabwe cricket team practise at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Photograph: Mohsin Raza/Reuters

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Wilson Manase has declared Pakistan 'safe' for international cricket after two matches of the five-game tour and urged test-playing nations to revisit their decision to shun the troubled country.

Since the 2009 attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore, test teams have refused to tour Pakistan, leaving the national side to play most of their 'home' matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan managed to coax Zimbabwe into touring the country for a limited overs series, though ZC back-flipped on the decision before finally agreeing to send a team amid reports players had security fears.

Manase said he was given the green light for the tour from Zimbabwe defence officials and was happy with the security cover after both Twenty20 internationals passed without trouble.

"I would like to indicate to the world -- especially the Test-playing nations -- that Pakistan is a safe country to play cricket," Manase told the ESPNcricinfo website.

"We need to encourage members of the ICC to re-look at the position of not visiting Pakistan, and if they are watching how things have gone, they would realise that Pakistan, in the quest to have teams visit, have done great work to create an environment where cricket can be played safely."

Pakistani policemen stand guard

Pakistani policemen stand guard as spectators watch the first Twenty20 cricket match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in Lahore. Photograph: Mohsin Raza/Reuters

Manase was happy with the large crowds at Lahore's Gaddafi stadium which is the sole venue for all five matches, including the three-match one-day series starting later on Tuesday.

"They are watching that the grounds are so full, they are watching the security given by the government and have understood Pakistan have the capacity to take any measures for the visiting team," he said. "I will brief them in the upcoming ICC meeting in Barbados."

Manase denied there was any reluctance in the Zimbabwe squad, who lost both the T20 matches.

"I can tell you that players were never reluctant. They were always ready to go, we never had any dissent within," Manase said.

"All players who were selected did come. We are safe, the players are safe and there is no problem."

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