Tickets went on sale in Pakistan on Saturday for next week’s series against Zimbabwe, days after a major militant attack put the visit – the first by a Test playing nation in six years – in doubt.
Zimbabwe confirmed on Friday that it will go ahead with the tour which will include two T20s and three ODIs, despite an attack on a Karachi bus on Wednesday that left 45 people dead.
Cricket authorities in the African nation had released a statement on Thursday saying the tour would not go ahead due to the ‘security risk’, but quickly apologised.
On Friday, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan said his Zimbabwean counterpart William Manase had told him via telephone that Zimbabwe was ‘still willing and ready to send their team to Pakistan’.
The tour is the first by a Test-playing team since 2009, when a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team was attacked by militants in Lahore.
That attack, which killed eight people and injured seven visiting players, resulted in the suspension of all international cricket in Pakistan.
Fans queued at various spots in Lahore in delight at the prospect of watching Test matches at home.
The first T20 gets underway on May 22.
‘ENGLAND WEAKER WITHOUT KP’ – CLARKE
Australia captain Michael Clarke has added fuel to the fire in the Kevin Pietersen debacle, stating that England aren’t as strong without him.
New director of English cricket Andrew Strauss said that Pietersen won’t play for England in the near future due to a ‘trust issue’, despite the South African-born batsman scoring 355 not out in a county game for Surrey last week. Clarke believes they’ve got a better chance in the Ashes with that decision.
‘There’s probably two sides for me,’ Clarke told reporters. ‘There’s the personal side where I feel for KP because I get on well with him and I’d love to see him back playing cricket for England.
‘His form has been outstanding, he’s still a great player and I know he wants to play, so I feel for him on that side.
‘The other side is we go there soon to play against England. Any team without Kevin Pietersen in it I don’t think is as strong.
His statistics speak for themselves. He’s been a wonderful player over a long period of time and he’s obviously still in career-best form.’
Whether or not it’s just mind-games from the skipper, only he will know. The first Ashes test gets underway in Cardiff from July 8.
HALES HEADS TO INDIA IN BLISTERING FORM
Alex Hales couldn’t have wished for a better send-off after leaving England to join up with the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
Hales, ranked No 3 in the world T20 rankings, smashed six sixes in a row on the opening night of the NatWest T20 blast, as Nottinghamshire beat Warwickshire by eight wickets. He went on to score 86 from just 43 balls.
Three sixes off Boyd Rankin were followed off the next three balls he faced in the next over from Ateeq Javid in his onslaught, and the Mumbai Indians will be relishing the prospect of him featuring in the playoff stages of the tournament, should they get there.