Why England’s return to Pakistan for cricket after 17 years is not good news for hosts’ economy
A security personnel stands guard upon the arrival of England and Pakistan cricket players and team officials at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi for their practice sessions on September 19, 2022. (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)
The England cricket team has returned to Pakistan for a cricket series after 17 years but the visit is set to prove costly for the host nation as ensuring a presidential-level security for the guests will see its cricket board spending a mammoth £4.4million.
However, the South Asian nation, which could not host international teams for many years since a terror attack on the Sri Lankan national team’s bus in Lahore in 2009, is so desperate to recover its image as a safe host that the board was ready to take the financial jolt, the Daily Mail reported.
Australia toured Pakistan in March and April and the Asian nation now looks to build on that by hosting more big teams. Both its government and the board know that they could not afford any slip-up and hence took to treating the England players the same way as heads of states.
The visiting team has hundreds of armed officials at its hotel and its players are followed by plain-clothed personnel.
During training and match days, players of both teams travel in unison. Snipers are located on buildings while soldiers line central reservations as they proceed.
Even the spider-cam above the National Stadium in Karachi was taken down so that a helicopter’s landing in the middle of the ground in case of an emergency is not disrupted.
The Sri Lankan team was evacuated by a helicopter from the middle of the pitch in Lahore.
England will play seven T20 internationals against Pakistan besides three Tests in the tour that will be held in two phases — September 20 to October 1 for the T20s and December 1 to 21 for the Tests.
Besides Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan will host the matches.
England started the tour on a happy note as they beat Pakistan in the first T20 international in Karachi on Tuesday (20) by 6 wickets to go 1-0 up.