Pakistan Holds First Int'l Cricket Match Since '09, Not Enough To Hold Tests
Security "was tight on Saturday as Pakistan hosted the first match of an int'l flavour" in the country since '09, according to the AFP. The sell-out event of 32,000 was also attended by around 5,000 police and para-military staff "cordoned off the stadium in a top-level security arrangement." The unofficial match, organized by Sports Minister of Sindh province Mohammad Ali Shah and backed by the Pakistan Cricket Board, "is seen as a small step toward reviving int'l cricket in Pakistan." A police official said, "A top-level security plan was devised for the match with around 5,000 policemen in and around the stadium" (AFP, 10/20). The IANS reported former Int'l Cricket Council President Ehsan Mani said that this weekend's int'l cricket matches "will boost the country's reputation as a viable host for int'l cricket but would not be enough to convince Test teams to play in the country." Mani said, "I do not think that these matches will have an immediate impact in persuading ICC full member teams to tour Pakistan, but it is a step in the right direction." Although supportive, the PCB had distanced itself from the tour. Mani: "I was disappointed to read that the PCB had disassociated itself form the matches; it appears that PCB is covering itself in case something goes wrong" (IANS, 10/20). The PTI reported that although the match was the first "int'l event of sorts" in the country in more than three years, "no official of the PCB flew down to Karachi for the match" (PTI, 10/21).