Zimbabwe cricket team assured of safety

The Zimbabwe national cricket team will play their third and final ODI against Pakistan at Gadaffi stadium this afternoon after receiving security assurances yesterday.

BY Kevin Mapasure in Lahore

Concern had been raised after an explosion occured outside the stadium killing two people during the second ODI on Friday night.

Some reports suggested that it was a suicide bomber who had blown themselves up, but the police have poured water on those reports suggesting that it might have been a gas tank that exploded.

The Capital City Police Officer of Lahore, deputy inspector general Amin Vaince addressed players yesterday and told them that they had further enhanced security measures. He added that they hoped to have concluded the matter within 48 hours.

“We cannot say conclusively what the explosion was, but we have launched an investigation,” said Vaince.

“At this point what I can say is evidence suggests it was a cylinder blast other than a suicide bomber. If it was a suicide bomber we would have had more casualties. We have collected evidence and we have sent it to the forensic department.

The moment we ascertain the identity of the person who died, we will be able to say whether it was a suicide attack. We also lost a police officer who was standing close.”

He maintained that the Zimbabwe team was safe since their security was not breached.

Zim Cricket

“The most important thing is that it occured outside our red zone so the security of the team is guaranteed. We have enhanced the red zone area, we have doubled our efforts. We are experienced at these kinds of things. Zimbabwe team are our heroes, we are delighted that the team is here and we treat you as heroes.”

The Zimbabwe camp that comprises two board members, team manager Chris Chiketa, media manager Lovermore Banda, convenor of selectors Givemore Makoni and managing director Alistair Campbell as well as the technical team and players all attended the meeting.

They then decided after the meeting that they should continue with the tour. The team leaves Pakistan tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe will be focused on trying to get their first win on this tour having lost the T-20 series 2-0. They are trailing 2-0 in the ODI series going into the final match today and they will be hoping for a morale boosting win.

While they have played some good cricket on this tour, especially on the batting front, they have not been able to transform peformances into results. Chamu Chibhabha missed out on a century in the last match when he was dismissed for 99, while Sikandar Raza got his.

With Elton Chigumbura and Craig Ervine unavailable for selection, Zimbabwe could go with the same team that played in the second ODI.

Opening batsman Vusi Sibanda will be hoping he will be selected so that he can put things right having chewed up 47 balls for just 13 runs in the latest defeat.

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