Pakistan tour goes ahead

HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) yesterday confirmed that the national team’s proposed tour of Pakistan will go ahead as planned.

ZC had been tight-lipped on the matter only maintaining that the tour was work in progress but the hosts on the other hand were playing a leading role by revealing some of the dates and the itinerary on several occasions.

Wilson Manase, the ZC chairman, however, yesterday said the long wait was over and the tour will go ahead as planned.

“The tour is going ahead and we will have a press conference tomorrow (this morning) where we intend to tell the nation on this subject,” Manase told the Daily News.

The team is scheduled to leave the country on May 18 for a series comprising of three One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 matches before they return home on June 2.

Coach Dav Whatmore has also committed himself to the team by signing a long term contract with ZC.

Whatmore was appointed on a short-term deal shortly before the 2015 Cricket World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand, where Zimbabwe failed to progress from the group stages.  

“Apart from the Pakistan tour we are also delighted to officially announce that the coach Dav Whatmore penned a four-year contract and will be with us for quite some time,” said Manase.

The Harare lawyer also revealed that he will be meeting the national team players this morning before the press conference at Harare Sports Club.

The cricketers had been threatening not to take part in the Pakistan tour over their outstanding salaries and match fees with ZC giving them assurance that they would receive their dues by end of this month.

“As a man who is a firm believer in an open door policy, I will be meeting the players who have requested to meet me tomorrow (today),” he said.

“I think their issue is now sorted out and I don’t foresee any problems at all with regards to the issue of payments.”

Foreign teams have shunned Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus, in which six Pakistani policemen were killed, meaning they have had to play their “home” matches at neutral venues, mostly in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan told Pakistan media yesterday that his board accepted some of the requests made by ZC.

“The expenditure on hosting the Zimbabwean team is around USD 500,000 but we expect to bring this figure down,” he said.

“For us this tour is important because we want Test teams to play in Pakistan and we want to send out the right message to the world about the security situation in Pakistan,” Khan said.

Khan confirmed that a security delegation from ZC would reach Lahore on Sunday and after their report the tour itinerary would be announced.

“ZC has said they have spoken to their players as well and they are ready for the tour but their security delegation's report will matter.

“The Zimbabwe team is reluctant to play in Karachi so we are scheduling all matches in Lahore.”

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