After a lot of persuasion by PCB regarding the safety of the cricketers playing in Pakistan, a 3 matches ODI series Zimbabwe tour of Pakistan was finalized. However, following the bomb attack incident near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore during the second ODI, which was described as a suicide attack by the media, there were a lot of speculations running around that Zimbabwe cricket will abandon the tour.
However, in terms of a story running on ESPN, the members of the visiting team had met Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and security officials Saturday afternoon to discuss the moralities of the ongoing cricket series. A spokesman said that the tour will go ahead as per the schedule.
“The tour will go ahead as planned and the Zimbabwe team will continue with their usual activities today, though they are not training today. They will play the third match on Sunday and subsequently will fly back in the wee hours of Monday.” he stated.
Initially the blast that took place near the stadium was being explained as a transformer blast during the 2nd One Day International match, which was lately described as a suicide attack near the Gaddafi Stadium.
However, Pakistani Information Minister confirmed it was an attack at the Gaddafi Stadium. Two persons, a senior inspector and one civilian were killed, and the injured people were rushed to a nearby hospital. It was stated, “An attempt to attack the Gaddafi Stadium was foiled by the gallantry of a police official, who lost his life while trying to stop the attacker near Kalma Chowk.”
Although, Lahore City Police Officer, Amin Wains described that it is not possible for him to come to the conclusion of the blast.
“At this point of time its not possible for me confirm or say something conclusive that whether it is a suicide attack or cylinder blast. All evidence collected says that most probably a cylinder blast took place in the three-wheeler autorickshaw. We have sent all the evidence to the forensic lab to confirm the nature of the blast. Most important it took place outside the red zone which was created for the team. So there was absolutely no abnormality inside or outside the stadium as things were moving normally throughout. Everyone knows that it is a minor sort of incident, although it took two innocent lives, but had it been a suicide the casualties could have been much more than this.”
He added, “We have beefed up our security and enhanced our red zone area. We have the resolve and the capacity to provide full security to the honorable members of the Zimbabwe team. They are heroes, we treat them like heroes. We are very delighted that they are visiting our country and this nation is very happy.”
In the ongoing 3 matches ODI series, Pakistan have already taken an irrecoverable lead of 2-0 against Zimbabwe. Their last match will be played on May 31, and the visiting Zimbabwean team will leave for their home in the early wee hours of Monday
Many of the supports of the game do believe that the current tour has definitely paved way to explore the possibilities of holding international matches but it is brave team spirit of Zimbabweans cricketers who have decided to keep the show going on despite not so secured security concerns out there.