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PHOTOS: Amid tight security, Pakistan cricket team arrives in Kolkata for WorldT20

Last updated on: March 12, 2016 22:37 IST
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 Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi waves to fans at the airport in Kolkata on Saturday

IMAGE: Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi waves to his fans upon his team's arrival at NSCBI Airport in Kolkata on Saturday. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI

Cleared by their government after days of uncertainty over their participation, the Pakistani contingent arrived in Kolkata to participate in the World Twenty20 cricket tournament.

The 27-member Pakistan cricket contingent arrived in the city from Abu Dhabi, finally ending days of suspicion over their participation in the mega event.

The Pakistan contingent comprising 15 players, 12 officials and support staff reached the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at 7:55 pm amid tight security after the Pakistan government finally gave their cricket board the green signal to fly to India.

Pakistan's Shoaib Malik arrives with his team 

IMAGE: Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik arrives with his team. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik

Hundreds of fans gathered at the airport to welcome the Pakistan team as Shahid Afridi and his players came out of the airport.

The Pakistani skipper reciprocated the warm gestures, waving at the crowd before leading his teammates into two buses as they went straight to the team hotel.

It took about an hour for the Pakistan players to clear their immigration formalities before they finally came out of the airport to the loud cheers of the fans gathered there.

Some fans were also heard shouting 'Three cheers for India'.

Commandos keep vigil inside the premises of the hotel where Pakistan team is staying in Kolkata on Saturday

IMAGE: Commandos keep vigil inside the premises of the hotel where Pakistan team is staying in Kolkata on Saturday. Photograph: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

There were tight security arrangements for the Pakistani contingent with hundreds of security personnel from CISF and black commandos maintaining a vigil at the airport.

The Pakistan contingent includes manager Intikhab Alam, the experienced former Test captain and a high profile security manager.

Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit welcomed the cricket team on their arrival.

"Welcome to India Team Pakistan, play your best and the cup is ours, we will be in Kolkata to cheer you up," he tweeted.

The Pakistan women's team also landed in Chennai on Saturday to the take part in the Women's World T20.

Due to the delay in their arrival, the Pakistan men's team have missed out on a warm-up match against Bengal which was scheduled for Friday. They will now play a practice game against Sri Lanka in Kolkata on Monday.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis and left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz (left) arrive in Kolkata on Saturday 

IMAGE: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis and left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz (left) arrive in Kolkata on Saturday. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI

Their first match of the main tournament will be held at EdenGardens on March 16 against a qualifier team, followed by the marquee clash against arch-rivals India at the same venue on March 19.

They will then take on New Zealand (March 22) and Australia (March 25) in their remaining Group B matches -- both in Mohali.

The Pakistan team was to fly out of their country on Wednesday but the government put their departure on hold, citing security concerns.

On Thursday, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan ruled out sending the team until special security assurances were met from India.

The matter was solved following security assurances from the Indian government.

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