Heavy security as West Indies give Pakistan cricket boost

The West Indies cricket team arrived in Pakistan on Thursday for a visit which local officials hope will scotch bitter memories of a New Zealand tour abandoned on security grounds.

The Windies will play three Twenty20 and three one-day internationals — all in the port city of Karachi — starting Monday, their first visit since 2018. A Pakistan official said a 26-member party had flown to Karachi early Thursday before being escorted by heavy security to the team hotel.

Heavy security as West Indies give Pakistan cricket boost

The series comes three months after New Zealand quit their first tour to the country in 18 years shortly before the opening match was due to start following a security alert. That was followed by England’s decision to withdraw visits by their men’s and women’s teams scheduled for October. Pakistan officials were furious with the cancellations, arguing security measures were lock-tight. The cricket-mad nation endured a long spell without a visit from an international team following a terror attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.

 Pakistan were forced to play their home international matches abroad West Indies — mostly in the United Arab Emirates — until 2015, when normal service tentatively resumed.This West Indian squad is somewhat under strength, with regulars Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell and Lendl Simmons all opting out for personal reasons.

Heavy security as West Indies give Pakistan cricket boost

Former skipper Jason Holder is being rested, while Fabian Allen and Obed McCoy are out because of injuries.

Last week captain Kieron Pollard also withdrew through a hamstring injury, leaving the Twenty20 leadership to Nicholas Pooran and ODIs to Shai Hope.

Four players — Akeal Hosein, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes and Odean Smith — will join the team later Thursday.

The three T20Is are on December 13, 14 and 16, while the ODIs will be on December 18, 20 and 22.

Heavy security as West Indies give Pakistan cricket boost

T20I squad: Nicholas Pooran (captain), Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Akeal Hosein, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Rovman Powell

ODI squad: Shai Hope (captain), Nicholas Pooran, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Justin Greaves, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Anderson Phillip, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr, Devon Thomas.

Source: KARACHI, Dec 9, 2021 (BSS/AFP)

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