Cricket :  L

Australia on tour in Pakistan, the first in 24 years

Snipers, helicopters and closed roads: The Australian cricket team arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for the first time in 24 years on a six-week tour under heavy security.

Pakistan, where cricket is the number one sport that evokes emotion, was for years denied international competitions on its soil after the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

After that, the national team had to move its matches at home abroad, in particular to the United Arab Emirates. The country has gradually hosted international matches again since 2015.
The Australian tour is making Pakistan happier after it was hit hard last September, when New Zealand’s cricket team boycotted a tour of the country, citing security threats, before hastily departing.

England soon after canceled their planned tour of Pakistan, the latter fearing Australia would do the same.
The last time the Australians played in Pakistan was 1998.

To accommodate the latter, Islamabad has provided the security arrangements normally reserved for “high-ranking foreign delegations, (and) the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan,” a spokesperson for the Pakistani Ministry of Security told AFP. interior.

About 4,000 police and military personnel will be tasked with protecting the Australian team’s hotel in Islamabad and the stadium in the nearby town of Rawalpindi.

Roads will be closed as Australians make the 15km journey from the hotel to the stadium in a bus that will be manned by army helicopters.

The Ministry of Interior said that snipers will be placed in the buildings surrounding the stadium, and that nearby shops and offices have been ordered to close their doors on match days.
A similar system will be established for meetings in Karachi and Lahore.

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Australia is scheduled to play several matches in different international formats, the first of which will take place on March 4. The team will leave Pakistan on April 6.

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