KARACHI - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided not to accommodate the touring Zimbabwe squad at the National Cricket Academy when they travel to the country to play the limited overs series. A reliable source in the PCB told PTI that Zimbabwe team will be staying at the five-star Pearl Continental hotel and would be provided with extreme security cover. "Putting them up at the NCA defeats the very purpose of inviting them to play in Pakistan. We want to show the world that we can provide the best security cover for visiting teams," the source said. "If we accommodate them at the NCA like the Kenya team earlier this year, then we can't give a message to the world that we can host international teams properly and without any fear," the source added.

The PCB had invited Kenya for a one-day series but restricted them to a security zone around the Gaddafi stadium and put them up at the NCA, which is adjacent to the stadium. The source said, in Zimbabwe's case, their travel to and from the airport to the hotel and to the stadium will be closely monitored and around 1500 law enforcement and security officials will guard the route they would travel through. "Their travel will also be monitored by helicopters with security personnel and a temporary helipad is being established near the hotel as well for emergency situations," the source informed. He said the DIG operations Punjab police was directly supervising the security plan and there would also be snipers on buildings on the route from hotel to stadium and in the stadium. The PCB and Punjab government seem to be taking no chances at all after what happened with the Sri Lankan national cricket team in March, 2009, when the militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus while they were on their way from the hotel to the Gaddafi stadium to play a Test.

 Six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed in the attack.

Zimbabwe would be first Test team to be touring Pakistan since that attack. The PCB is spending close to USD 500,000 on expenditures of the Zimbabwe team, including taking out insurance and paying match fees/daily allowances to the players.