Harare: Zimbabwe have left Harare for a high-stakes tour of Pakistan, national cricket association spokesman Lovemore Banda said Monday. "The team has left (Harare)," Banda told AFP. "They are going (to Pakistan) via Dubai."
There were doubts whether the five-match tour would go ahead after the massacre of 45 minority Shiites in an attack on a bus in Karachi last week. It is the first tour of Pakistan by a Test-level team since seven Sri Lankan cricketers were wounded during a 2009 attack by militants in Lahore.
Zimbabwe are scheduled to arrive in Pakistan Tuesday and play two Twenty20 and three one-day internationals amid massive security at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Since the attack on the Sri Lankans, Pakistan have staged 'home' matches in the United Arab Emirates. Views on the tour are mixed with Sri Lanka-born Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore upbeat.
"I appreciate the significance of this tour to Pakistan and I am happy to go," he told Zimbabwe radio. But the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) said their security advisors were against the tour.
A South African radio station quoted FICA chairman Tony Irish saying : "Tours to Pakistan remain an unacceptable risk and teams are advised against travelling there."