KARACHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) today informed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Zimbabwe Cricket that it is not appointing its match officials for the upcoming series between the two countries in Pakistan, according to a statement posted on the ICC website.
According to DawnNews, the PCB has announced a panel of local match officials including Azhar Khan, Russell Tiffin, Aleem Dar, Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza, Ahmad Shahab and Khalid Mahmood.
The ICC decision was made after receiving a report from its security consultant. Due to security fears, foreign countries and match officials are reluctant to visit Pakistan.
The PCB and Zimbabwe have however agreed to play five One-day Internationals and two T20 matches.
Read: Tickets go on sale in Lahore for Zimbabwe series
The ICC Board, during its April meeting, had decided that the playing conditions relating to the appointment of match officials could be waived to allow the PCB to appoint local match officials for this series should the ICC decide not to send its umpires and referee due to the current security situation in Pakistan.
If this was to occur, the matches would still be considered “official cricket”, even though they will not be played strictly in accordance with the ICC standard playing conditions.
In the past, when Bangladesh was about to visit Pakistan in 2012, same issue was raised as the ICC could not make neutral umpires available and allowed the PCB to appoint local umpires under special circumstances.
Read: Zimbabwe decision to quit Pakistan cricket tour put on hold
The PCB is pinning hopes on successful hosting of Zimbabwe as it may prove a major factor in attracting other cricket nations to also visit Pakistan.
Although the PCB claimed on Friday they had received an assurance from ZC that the tour was on, Zimbabwe continue to say only that discussions are ongoing.
Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore, who coached Pakistan in the past, took to Twitter on Sunday to suggest the team would travel.
“Looking fwd to returning to Pakistan as opposition coach and reacquainting with friends. Team zim are & will be working hard for a win!” he said from his official account.
A ZC delegation which visited Lahore, the venue for all matches on the tour, approved security measures put in place by local authorities last week.
In the recent past, the PCB had successfully hosted Afghanistan and Kenya but organising a series against a Test country will be a key success.
Zimbabwe are due to be the first test-playing nation to tour Pakistan since a 2009 attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore left six Pakistani policemen and a van driver dead. Some players and a local umpire were injured.
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