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Pak venues get hotter
- PCB says India can take along security personnel

Islamabad/New Delhi: The Karachi-Peshawar issue remains the bone of contention as India’s trip to Pakistan slowly takes shape. While the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) insists that the two cities must host matches, the three-member Indian delegation which returned after visiting the venues in Pakistan sees problems in that.

Meanwhile, in a show of goodwill, the PCB said it was planning to permit Indian security officials to accompany the team during its upcoming tour.

“The PCB expects the Indian team will be accompanied by a few Indian security personnel and the issue was discussed during yesterday’s meeting with the BCCI delegation in Lahore,” PCB spokesman Sami-ul Hassan said Monday. “The BCCI will inform us about the number of security officials.”

[That a security officer may accompany the Indian team to Pakistan was first reported by The Telegraph on February 1.]

Hassan, however, added that Pakistan will be responsible for the overall security of the Indian team and that the security officials accompanying the team will co-ordinate with their Pakistani counterparts.

Thereafter, PCB chief Shaharyar Khan said watertight security will be ensured for the visitors, and “we will play in Karachi and Peshawar. We are sensitive to India’s feelings that a long stay of nine or ten days (at these two cities) may be a problem for the players. It may weigh heavily on their minds. But we will work out everything to the satisfaction of both sides,” he said.

Back in New Delhi it was learnt India would want significant changes in the draft itinerary prepared by the PCB according to highly placed sources.

Sources said it was unlikely India would agree to the holding of the five-day Test in Karachi and also a one-dayer in Pehsawar. “Eight days in Karachi and Peshawar are too many from security point of view,” one of the officials of the team said. “One possible way out would be to play a one-dayer in Karachi also.”

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