LAHORE - Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) security delegation Wednesday okayed their team’s tour to Pakistan after showing satisfaction in security measures taken by the country before the tour.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) managing director Alistair Douglas Ross Campbell was leading the six-member security delegation from Zimbabwe with other members were Zimbabwe players’ representative Tamuka Priveledge Mapfumo, Zimbabwe team manager and cricket operations manager Pachavo Christian Chiketa, ZC security consultants Johannes Marthinus Barnard and Manjoro Robson and independent security official, reporting to ICC, and Khalid Tareen.

Led by Campbell, the visiting delegation first reached the National Cricket Academy (NCA) where it was given a detailed briefing on security deployment and measures and then they visited the Gaddafi Stadium as well as the control room established across the road at the National Hockey Stadium (NHS) to monitor the entire Nishtar Park Sports Complex.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad, director international cricket operations Zakir Khan, director HR and administration Brig (R) Sajid Hameed and PCB security head Col (R) M Azam Khan was accompanying the delegation which was also given another briefing by the law enforcing and intelligence agencies in the afternoon.

Talking to the reporters, Alistair Campbell hoped that Zimbabwe tour could help revive international cricket in Pakistan. "We have received a very good welcome here. We are very excited to be embarking on this adventure and are very excited to see what is ahead and then look forward to Zimbabwe cricket team arriving here on May 19.”

"You have to start somewhere and we are very excited to be here. Our team is excited to arrive here and will play in Pakistan and get more cricket under their belt, get more experience under their belt," he added.

Campbell said he had played many times here in Pakistan, five-six tours. “During my career, I have played in all over Pakistan – in Lahore, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Sheikhupura. This is the start, we start here in Lahore and hopefully in years to come, we will come back and play in the rest of the country and resume normal relations with Pakistan.”

Campbell said he was satisfied with the security arrangements. "They have left no stone unturned to make sure that we will be safe. We look forward to coming here.”

“The cricket in this country had to resume from somewhere and the forthcoming series would provide the opportunity. I thank the PCB and the security agencies for all the security measures that have been put in place and we are looking forward to be back in a couple of weeks' time to get down to real business, which is playing cricket," Campbell stated.

Sharing his views, PCB COO Subhan Ahmad said: “This visit by Zimbabwe Cricket security delegation is meant to oversee the arrangements, in particular the security measures that have been put in place. We have given them an exhaustive briefing with more to follow. We hope that we have made the delegation’s visit as comfortable as we can.

“The briefings are not complete yet; they will also visit the command center and take briefing from the police and intelligence agencies there. We are positive team Zimbabwe’s visit – the first by a Test-playing nation in six years – shall be a success and a harbinger of many more to come,” Subhan added.

After inspecting various parts of Sports Board Punjab (SBP) and National Hockey Stadium (NHS) to check the security measures, Campbell termed security arrangements made by the SBP quite satisfactory and said: “The SBP is equipped with best security facilities and one of the most advanced CCTV camera systems. The security arrangements taken by them are up to the mark and I will put up a positive report to the Zimbabwe Cricket.”

He also reminded that as per Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Pakistan would also make a return tour to Zimbabwe in August.

DG SBP Usman Anwar said Zimbabwe delegation was more than happy with the security measures taken up by the SBP in Nishtar Park Sports Complex. “The tour of Zimbabwe cricket team and upcoming Punjab International Sports Festival (PISF) will be of great importance for the revival of international cricket and sports in Pakistan.”