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West Indies & Pakistan cricket boards to hold security talks for tour

Grave’s words come after New Zealand abandoned their white-ball tour of Pakistan just before the start of first ODI in Rawalpindi last Friday

IANS | Trinidad |

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief executive officer (CEO) Johnny Grave said on Wednesday that he will be speaking with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) later this week about security when West Indies will tour Pakistan in December.

Grave’s words come after New Zealand abandoned their white-ball tour of Pakistan just before the start of first ODI in Rawalpindi last Friday. On Monday, England decided to withdraw from men’s and women’s white-ball tours to the country in October due to security and bio-bubble reasons.

“I had a call with Wasim Khan, the Pakistan CEO, (on Tuesday) morning, to find out everything that had happened during the past week, on the back of New Zealand abandoning their tour and England’s decision not to go there, and to suggest that we have another call later this week with our operational teams to discuss our women’s and men’s tours that are scheduled for later this year,” Grave was quoted as saying by Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

“We’ll speak to our Independent Security Consultants, ESI, who we used back in 2018 when we went to Pakistan. We’ve had an initial meeting with WIPA (West Indies Players Association) too about it, and we’re going to follow the same process, that we have done in the past,” added Grave.

West Indies are expected to play three ODIs and three T20Is on the visit to Pakistan at the end of the year. Grave went on to say that the focus right now is on following the processes. “At this stage, our intention is to fulfil our touring obligations. We’ve got a pretty clear process that we go through with independent security experts, like we did in 2018. We will follow that process, the board of directors, WIPA, as well as the players themselves will review the plans and our reports, including the independent security advice. Most of our women’s and men’s players have played in Pakistan in the last few years.”

“We don’t have to make an imminent decision. We will just go through the process first, with the PCB and the security experts. We’ll have a meeting with the players to answer any questions and give them all the information. We’re just at the start of that process now, with the women’s team just finishing against South Africa. We’re firming up our plans, with the World Cup qualifiers and, from a men’s perspective, we’re focussed very much on the World Cup. That’s the major operations focus. We’re looking at getting our (T20) players to the World Cup and our Test players into Antigua for a camp, and then over to Sri Lanka. We’re not due (in Pakistan) with the men’s team until the 9th of December, so we’ve got a bit of time,” added Grave.

Asked about the tour of Sri Lanka, scheduled to take place in November, Grave said, “It’s still in the planning stage. We’ve got every intention of going to Sri Lanka for two Test matches immediately after the World Cup. With all of the overseas tours, we’re always getting updates and medical advice in discussions with the boards.

“We’re going to be finalising travel arrangements in terms of covid restrictions and quarantines and, in the case of Pakistan, we always have independent security advice by people who are used by all the international boards and the ICC. In 2018, we had an independent security manager with the team. I don’t anticipate us changing anything from what we did in 2018, in terms of going through a clear and robust process before the players (leave) the region,” concluded Grave.