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Pakistan cricket chief says Zimbabwe official confirms tour


AP

Pakistan cricket chief says Zimbabwe official confirms tour

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — Zimbabwe’s cricket team will tour Pakistan next week after receiving clearance from its government, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Friday.

Khan said Zimbabwe Cricket counterpart Wilson Manase told him the tour will go ahead, and he’s asked him to send confirmation in writing.

“Wilson Manase told me he has got the clearance from his government to go, and he will send it in writing too,” Khan said.

He and Manase talked three times by telephone in the last 17 hours, since confusion arose on Thursday when Zimbabwe cancelled the tour, then deferred the decision to Friday.

Khan said on all three occasions, Manase reassured him about the tour, the first by a test-playing nation to Pakistan in more than six years. Manase also said he will accompany the team.

The tour was jeopardised after militants killed 45 minority Shiite on a bus in the southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Zimbabwe government, which must clear all sports tours, recommended the cricketers not go to Pakistan over security concerns. Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry so advised the Sports and Recreation Commission. The SRC told ZC to cancel the tour, and ZC announced it. Less than 30 minutes later, ZC said there was no decision yet.

Zimbabwe, due to arrive on Tuesday, is scheduled to play two Twenty20s and three one-day internationals, all in Lahore, from next Friday.

Test teams stopped visiting Pakistan after the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by gunmen en route to a test in 2009 in Lahore. Six police and a driver were killed, and several Sri Lankans wounded.

Zimbabwe had already gone against the advice of the international players’ association in agreeing to the tour.

ZC managing director Alistair Campbell was just in Lahore last week with a delegation from Zimbabwe, and said they were excited about the tour, and that Pakistan “left no stone unturned to make sure that we will be safe.”

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