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Pakistan arrive

Bhubaneswar: Amid tight security, Pakistan team arrived here, on Sunday, to participate in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup and proceeded straight to Cuttack, which is one of the venues for the tournament along with Mumbai.

The Biju Patnaik Airport and surrounding areas had been converted into a fortress in view of threat by Sangh Parivar outfits and local parties to prevent the Pakistani players from touching Odisha soil.

Around 600 security personnel, including jawans of Special Security Battalion (SSB) and Odisha police, had positioned themselves at vantage points to prevent any untoward incident, police said.

Ahead of the Pakistan team’s arrival, city police had taken about 10 activists of Utkal Bharat, including former MP Kharvel Swain, into custody as a precautionary measure. The police picked up Swain and others while they were on their way to the Biju Patnaik Airport.

“The Pakistan women’s cricket team have been accommodated at the Odisha Cricket Association Club premises and they would play all their matches at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack,” OCA secretary Ashirbad Behera said.

They would play their warm up matches with Odisha Women-XI likely on Januanry 29 and 30.

Three other teams - Australia, New Zealand and South Africa - will stay at Bhubaneswar and will have their net practices at the Railway Stadium.

The Pakistan team, according to the schedule issued by the OCA, will play their first match against Australia on February 1 followed by matches against New Zealand on February 3 and South Africa on February 5.