For the first time in around 25 years, the Australian cricket team arrived in Pakistan on Friday, and into a security shell that will surround them for the duration of their six-week stay.
Pakistan has struggled to attract visiting teams since a devastating attack on the Sri Lankan team’s van in 2009.
The Australians cancelled a tour after a suicide bombing at a church in Lahore five years ago.
The previous time they visited Pakistan, they won a three-match series 1-0 and blanked them in three one-day internationals.
Pakistani security officials said the team has landed while Australia batsman Steve Smith posted a picture on Twitter saying the team had arrived.
Before departing on April 6, the Australian squad will play three Tests, three One-Day Internationals, and one Twenty20 match.
Despite being forced to play home matches abroad mostly in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan appeared to have satisfied international cricket authorities last year, with tours from both New Zealand and England planned.
The Black Caps, hastily left just minutes before the start of their match, citing security concerns. The men’s and women’s England teams both postponed their tours shortly after that.
Officials of Pakistan’s cricket team were furious with the decision because they believed they had done all they could to ensure the safety and security of their players.
They say to be sparing no chances this time, with around 4,000 police and military personnel stationed at the team accommodation in Islamabad and the cricket stadium in Rawalpindi, a neighbouring garrison city.
A spokesman for Pakistan’s interior ministry informed the AFP news agency that the squad will be given of ‘head of state-level security.’
Pakistan’s president, foreign delegations and prime minister are the only ones who receive such arrangements.”
When the Australians undertake the 15-kilometre (9-mile) journey, roads will be closed and army helicopters will fly overhead.
Matches in Karachi and Lahore will be held under the same arrangements.
After arriving for COVID-19 tests, the Australians will be confined to quarters for 24 hours before heavy training ahead of the first Test on March 4.
Pat Cummins, Australia’s skipper, remarked The security and logistics staff have put in a lot of effort into planning and preparing.”
Stadiums are likely to be filled as Pakistan emerges relatively unscathed from the COVID-19 pandemic’s Omicron stage, and nearly half of the country’s 220 million inhabitants weren’t even born when Australia played Pakistan a decade ago.
Pakistan will host eight tests, 11 One-Day Internationals, and 13 Twenty20 Internationals during the next 13 months.