Foreign experts on Sunday (February 11) inspected security arrangements in Karachi, which is scheduled to stage the final of Pakistan’s Twenty20 league next month — the city’s first international match in nine years.
The third season of the Pakistan Super League starts in the United Arab Emirates on February 22. The tournament will move to Pakistan for two playoffs on March 20 and 21, and the final in Karachi on March 25.
Reg Dickason and Richard Dennis, the security experts, witnessed a full dress rehearsal for the final in Karachi. They were also briefed by Pakistani security and government officials on the arrangements.
“Whatever we have witnessed today, it’s as good as I have seen in all my years of work but I can’t say a final word (on hosting the final) now and will submit my report within the next seven days,” Dickason told the media.
The team’s report will be integral to paving the way for the final.
International cricket in Pakistan was suspended after a 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore killed eight people and injured seven visiting players.
Pakistan’s national team has since played nearly all its home matches in the UAE. The country has been battling Islamist militants for over a decade, and insurgents have carried out several high-profile attacks across the country.
Authorities have been trying to gradually return international cricket to Pakistan.
The final of the PSL last year was played in Lahore. Some foreign players made the trip, but many stayed away because of concerns about security.
That was followed by three Twenty20 Internationals against a World XI in September, and one T20I against Sri Lanka in October — all in Lahore.
Pakistan made unprecedented security arrangements for these matches, with 20,000 military and police officials guarding the visiting players and the stadium.
Karachi, the country’s largest city, last hosted an international match in February 2009 — a Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka — a week before the Lahore attack.
All six PSL teams have foreign players in their squads for the third season. Each team can field a maximum of four foreign players per match.