Karachi - Pakistan gets another chance to showcase its
ability to host international cricket when West Indies starts a three-match
Twenty20 series on Sunday in Karachi.
The southern port city had a successful dress rehearsal for
the April 1-3 games when it hosted the Pakistan Super League final last week.
Although it was a domestic T20 final, several foreign
players including former West Indies captain Darren Sammy, South Africa's JP
Duminy and Luke Ronchi of New Zealand took part and were provided with almost
Karachi last hosted an international game in 2009 when Sri
Lanka played a test match before an attack by gunmen on its team bus in Lahore
shut the door on international cricket in Pakistan. Six Pakistan policemen and
two civilians were killed in that attack, and six members of the Sri Lanka team
But the Pakistan Cricket Board has accelerated its efforts
to win back the confidence of overseas cricket teams in the last two years.
Lahore hosted Zimbabwe in 2015, and Sri Lanka returned in
The tour of West Indies, which will play three straight
Twenty20s, is seen as another step toward the revival of full-fledged
international cricket in Pakistan.
Around 6,000 security personnel will guard the area around
the National Stadium and armed guards will travel with the West Indies team
from its hotel to the stadium.
"This tour is a further major step for our friends at
the PCB to bring their cricket back home, and we are pleased that our players
and support staff have recognized this and supported this venture,"
Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave said.
"We have made it very clear to the players and support
staff that had personal reservations about this tour that we fully understand
and respect their position."
Jason Mohammed will lead what looks a weak West Indies squad
on paper with Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin and Samuel Badree the most
experienced players. However, there's no Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Devendra
Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite and Shai Hope.
West Indies was due to tour Pakistan last November but the
tour was postponed due to heavy smog in Lahore.
Top-ranked T20 team Pakistan has given a chance to younger
players like Asif Ali, Hussain Talat and Shaheen Afridi, who performed well in
"For the young guys, there is nothing like playing at
home," Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said.
"I know that they have been very excited about the
opportunity and I just can't wait to see the stadium full of green flags."