Pakistan unveils bullet-proof buses for cricketers in bid to end boycott
Determined to end the boycott of their country by international teams, Pakistan's cricket authorities have announced plans to buy a fleet of armoured buses to protect visiting players against attacks. They will also build a new high-security stadium in the nation's capital.
The world's cricketing nations have avoided Pakistan since a Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by militants in the spring of 2009 in Lahore, an incident in which six policeman and a driver were killed but from which the cricketers somehow escaped largely unscathed.
Instead of being able to host its home matches in the country, it has been obliged to hold them abroad, usually in Dubai.
Officials are determined to convince teams that it is now safe to return and their cause was boosted at the weekend when Pakistan hosted two unofficial 20-over matches in the city of Karachi featuring a number of international stars, including players from South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Those who participated appeared to believe Pakistan, where cricket has tens of millions of hugely enthusiastic fans, was ready to again host international fixtures.
"After these two matches I hope people will believe that Pakistan is a safe country for cricket," Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka, said as he left, according to the Agence France-Presse. "We had two great days with good crowds coming and I am sure that with more efforts international cricket will return to Pakistan. It is unfortunate that the people of Pakistan are not getting international cricket on their grounds, but I am sure they will get it sooner than later."
It is not as though all international teams have refused to play in Pakistan. Last year a visiting team from Afghanistan played three one-day matches against a second-string Pakistani team. But cricket officials want to persuade the big names of cricket that now is the time to return.
It has been reported that Bangladesh may be the first to take up its invitation. Its team had been scheduled to play in Pakistan in April but the tour was called off amid security concerns. They may announce a series of One-Day internationals to be held at the end of the year, according to reports.
The announcement by the Pakistan Cricket Board to purchase the bullet-proof vehicles followed a meeting on Tuesday in the town of Abbottabad, now known around the world as the place where Osama bin Laden was found and killed in May 2011.
"To ensure best security protocols for the international teams, the board unanimously approved the purchase of bullet-proof buses to enable the PCB to achieve higher security measures for the visiting teams," the board said in a statement.
The board also heard an update on the building a new stadium in Islamabad. The stadium will be built with accommodation facilities for the team in order to try and help improve security. "This stadium, when complete, with a capacity of 50,000, will be the biggest cricket stadium in Pakistan," the statement added.
Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
South Korea ferry disaster: Released transcripts show chaos and confusion in the moments before ferry sinks
Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 How We Met: Alison Moyet & Emma Kennedy: 'I knew we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself'
£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...