No ICC umpires for Pakistan-Zimbabwe on security concerns
DUBAI: Cricket’s governing body said Sunday it would not send its neutral umpires for the Pakistan-Zimbabwe series after receiving a report from a security consultant, allowing the hosts to use their own officials.
Zimbabwe is set to become the first Test playing nation to tour Pakistan in six years after international cricket was suspended following a March 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said it received confirmation from Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) for the tour to play two Twenty20 (May 22 and 24) and three one-day internationals (May 26, 29 and 31) — all in Lahore.
The tourists are expected to arrive early Tuesday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said it would not send its umpires for the tour.
“The ICC today advised the PCB and ZC that it will not be appointing its match officials for the upcoming series. The ICC’s decision has been made after receiving a report from its security consultant,” the council said in a statement.
The PCB confirmed to AFP that it would appoint its own umpires, which may include an umpire from Zimbabwe as well.
The ICC said it decided in April that the mandatory requirement of neutral umpires for international matches would be waived due to security conditions in Pakistan should the series go ahead.
It assured that “the matches would still be considered ‘official cricket’ even though they will not be played strictly in accordance with the ICC standard playing conditions.”
Zimbabwe had suspended the tour on Thursday following an attack in Karachi which left 45 people dead, before reversing the decision 24 hours later.
No major foreign team has toured Pakistan in the last six years, forcing the national team to play all its home matches at neutral venues in United Arab Emirates.
Ticket sales for the series started on Saturday, with police conducting a dress rehearsal of the security arrangements for the tourists.
Pakistan has promised head-of-state-like security for Zimbabwe with 6,000 officers involved. (AFP)