New Zealand arrived in Pakistan on Saturday for their first tour in 18 years, with batting coach Thilan Samaraweera returning to the country where he was shot in 2009.
Samaraweera was part of the Sri Lanka team that was attacked by militants near the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore in 2009.
Samaraweera was shot in the left thigh and took three months after surgery to get back on the field. He has been working with the New Zealand team since 2019.
Those attacks led international teams to refuse to tour in Pakistan, forcing them to play in neutral venues in the UAE.
New Zealand also had to cut short a tour of Pakistan in 2002, after a bomb blast outside their team hotel in Karachi. They returned to play five ODIs in 2003 – their last tour of Pakistan.
On Saturday, the New Zealand team were taken to their hotel in a bullet-proof bus.
Stand-in skipper Tom Latham said he and his players were happy to be in Pakistan.
“It’s obviously very pleasing for Pakistan as a nation,” he added.
In the past six years, Pakistan have hosted Zimbabwe, South Africa, Bangladesh, the West Indies and Sri Lanka as security has improved in the country.
New Zealand will play three ODIs (17, 19, 21 September) in Rawalpindi, and five T20Is (25, 26, 29 September; 1, 3 October) in Lahore.
The current New Zealand squad is weakened by the absence of eight of their top players, including skipper Kane Williamson, who will be playing in the rescheduled IPL in the UAE from next week.
“For us, it’s just about going there and trying to adapt to conditions,” Latham added. “So, another opportunity for the group and they’re all looking forward to it,” he added.
Five members of the T20I squad – Todd Astle, Mark Chapman, Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell and Ish Sodhi – are expected to arrive later on Sunday.
As part of Covid-19 precautions, the series will be played before 25% full crowds, all of whom must be vaccinated to attend.
New Zealand ODI squad: Tom Latham (c), Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell, Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Blair Tickner, Will Young.
© Agence France-Presse