Zimbabwe to tour Pakistan

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Zimbabwe will become the first Test playing nation to tour Pakistan since the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.

The tour was thrown into doubt last week, when a terrorist attack on a bus killed 47 people in Karachi, but the Zimbabweans have now decided to fly out after all.

“The tour is going ahead and we leave tonight,” Whatmore said, going on to add that he believed the tour would be successful and that the security measures put in place by Pakistan will be adequate.

However, cricket???s governing body the International Cricket Council say they will not send their neutral umpires to officiate in the series, after receiving a report from a security consultant.

The ICC said in a statement on Sunday: ???The ICC today advised the PCB and ZC that it will not be appointing its match officials for the upcoming series.

???The ICC’s decision has been made after receiving a report from its security consultant.???

The PCB have confirmed that it will therefore appoint its own umpires, which may include an umpire from Zimbabwe as well.

The ICC said it decided in April that the mandatory requirement of neutral umpires for international matches would be waived due to security conditions in Pakistan, should the series go ahead.

It confirmed that “the matches would still be considered ‘official cricket’, even though they will not be played strictly in accordance with the ICC standard playing conditions???.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have agreed to play two Twenty20 matches (May 22 and 24), and three one-day internationals (May 26, 29 and 31).

Ticket sales for the series started on Saturday, and police conducted a dress rehearsal of the security arrangements for the tourists.??

Pakistan has promised head-of-state-like security for Zimbabwe, with 6,000 officers involved.

Since the attack in Lahore six years ago, Pakistan have been playing their home matches at neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates.