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International security company hired for Pakistan by ICC

LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has hired an international security company on a three-year term in order to aid the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi said on Tuesday.

 The security company will visit the country during either the last week of August or the first week of September.

“It’s a step by the ICC for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan,” Sethi said. “The company is based in three countries — the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates — and has a good repute.

“A representative of the Federation of International Cricketers (FICA) will accompany the security company to personally monitor the security situation in Lahore.

“It will be a four-day visit where the security company will work with the government of Punjab to get assurances that all the recommendations submitted by security experts of the different countries who visited Lahore to watch the final of the second Pakistan Super League (PSL) season have been incorporated by the government in its SOPs, or not.”

Sethi disclosed that the security team will visit the country each year and the ICC would pay them US$400,000 for every visit, making it a total of US$1.2million for the full three-year term.

“On the report of the security company, it would pave the way for resumption of international cricket to the country, clearing the way for the PSL to be played here,” Sethi added.

“The inclusion of the FICA representative is to satisfy the foreign players’ concerns over visiting Pakistan.”

The country’s cricket chief said the recommendations made by foreign security experts who came for the PSL final had been incorporated in the SOPs of the Punjab government.

Among the foreign delegations during the PSL final was one from Sri Lanka, which Sethi said, had given a positive report about the security arrangements and therefore Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had agreed on a short trip to Lahore during their upcoming series against Pakistan.

On that short trip in October, subject to security clearance, Sri Lanka could play a maximum of two T20 Internationals in Lahore.

“The Sri Lankans have agreed to play the third game of the T20 series against Pakistan in Lahore,” said Sethi, who returned home from Sri Lanka after presiding over the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Colombo. “The second match can also be staged in Lahore.”

The remaining matches of the full series including two Tests, five One-day Internationals and one T20 will be played in UAE.

He said the visit of the ICC World XI was almost on the cards but he could not, at this point in time, disclose the exact dates of the tour. The World XI is to play three T20 matches in Lahore next month.

Meanwhile, about shifting of the Asia Under-19 Cup to Malaysia from India, the PCB chairman said the decision was taken with consensus to avoid any controversy.

Sethi said the Indian delegates, who attended the ACC meeting, agreed to shift the event to Malaysia. He said the decision was taken in a friendly atmosphere and there was no acrimony.

He said although Sri Lanka could have been the next hosts of the Under-19 event, the decision to hold it in Malaysia was taken to promote cricket in the small cricketing nation.

He said the PCB would also help Maldives in promoting the game of cricket in the tiny island.

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Azhar Hashmi

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