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Pakistan insists Zimbabwe cricket tour still on

AFP logoAFP 15-05-2015
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan speaks during a press conference in Lahore, on May 14, 2015 © Provided by AFP Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan speaks during a press conference in Lahore, on May 14, 2015

Pakistan's cricket chief said Friday Zimbabwe would be touring as scheduled after a major militant attack put the visit -- the first by a Test playing nation in six years -- in doubt.

Zimbabwe Cricket Thursday released a statement saying the tour would not go ahead due to the "security risk" in the wake of an attack on minority Shiites in Karachi on Wednesday that left 45 dead.

But a ZC spokesman issued an apology 20 minutes later, saying the abandonment was not confirmed.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan said his counterpart had now confirmed the tour.

A Pakistani policeman stands guard outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore after a 2009 attack by masked gunmen on the Sri Lankan cricket team © Provided by AFP A Pakistani policeman stands guard outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore after a 2009 attack by masked gunmen on the Sri Lankan cricket team

"I received a call from the ZC president (Wilson Manase) on Friday morning and he told me that they got their government's clearance for the tour," Khan said.

"We are waiting for their written confirmation which will come in the next few hours."

Zimbabwe are set to become the first Test team to tour Pakistan since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009, killing eight and injuring nine including six visiting cricketers.

They are due to play two Twenty20 internationals on May 22 and 24 followed by three one-day internationals on May 26, 29 and 31 -- all in Lahore.

Khan added: "There is huge interest in the tour and tickets are in big demand. We are waiting for the team to revive international cricket in Pakistan."

Test opposition has stayed away since the attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus, forcing Pakistan to play their home matches mainly in the United Arab Emirates.

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