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    Pakistan cricket lovers set for international return

    May 23, 2015

    Thousands of police were on duty at a Pakistani cricket stadium on Friday as cricket fans prepared for the first international game in the country since a terror attack in 2009.

    Fans waited for tickets in temperatures of 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) and faced frequent security checks as they awaited the start of the Twenty20 international between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, The Hindu reported.

     

    The game marks a return to international cricket for Pakistan venues for the first time since gunmen attacked buses carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team and match officials in this eastern city six years ago.

     

    Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore, who coached Pakistan until last year, tweeted: “5.5hrs till game time & can’t wait to experience the return of in’tl cricket to Pakistan... Go Zim!”

     

    Pakistan has pledged blanket security to the visitors, with at least 4,000 police and paramilitaries deployed to avoid a repeat of the 2009 attack, which killed six police and which resulted in the suspension of international cricket in Pakistan.

     

    Dozens of CCTV cameras have been installed in the surroundings of Nishtar Park, where the Gaddafi Stadium is located. Spectators have also been asked to bring identity cards.

     

    The extraordinary security will also see spectators passing through at least three checkpoints before entering the stadium after a walk of at least 800 meters.

     

    Tickets for both Friday’s and Sunday’s Twenty20s were sold out within two days after they went on sale earlier this week.

     

    “I have come early, but policeman say I might have to wait for another two hours before gettini Lag into the stadium,” 17-year-old student Qadeer Hussain said.

     

    Farhan Ishaque, who had come from Faisalabad, was not sure of getting hold of a ticket but said he would not go home.

     

    “It’s a historic moment for Pakistan and I don’t want to miss the atmosphere,” he said.

     

    Last modified on Saturday, 23 May 2015 04:35

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