PCB to buy bulletproof buses

Pakistan has been a no-go zone for major international teams after the attack on Sri Lankan team – their bus was shot at by gunmen near Gaddafi Stadium in March 2009, and the attack injured five cricketers and killed six security men and two civilians. Since then, Pakistan have been playing their ‘home’ series abroad, and the PCB has been trying to bring international cricket back to the country. Now, the PCB hopes it can be revived as early as next year, following the successful staging of two exhibition Twenty20s involving an International World XI in Karachi last week.

The PCB relies heavily on the government with regards to providing the visiting teams’ security. The bullet proof buses will be an additional safety measure for visiting teams, ensuring box security while travelling. The buses were sanctioned at the PCB governing board meeting on Thursday in Abbottabad, the garrison town north of Islamabad.

“To ensure best security protocols for international teams, the Board of Governors unanimously approved the purchase of bullet proof buses,” the PCB said in a statement. “The members noted that the step would enable the PCB to achieve higher security measures for the teams visiting Pakistan in future.”

Apart from working on security protocol, the PCB has been working on identifying potential new venues for international cricket across the country and upgrading them to international standards. The board had visited the Abbottabad cricket stadium and, at the meeting, approved a Rs 12.5 million budget for its upgrading and development.

Earlier this year the PCB had identified a 35-acre piece of land in Islamabad, where a stadium that is meant to be the biggest in the country, with a capacity of capacity of 50,000, will be developed. “The board unanimously decided to name the stadium after Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto,” the PCB statement said.

The stadium will be in the Shakarparian area of Islamabad, with multiple facilities that include a cricket ground, a cricket academy and lodging facility. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between the PCB and Capital Development Authority (CDA), the PCB will receive 70% of the revenue generated by the stadium, while the CDA will take 30%.

Also at the meeting, the governing board reviewed the progress made in bringing together Pakistan’sproposed Twenty20 league. “The board was updated on the progress thus far and a roadmap was shared with them,” the statement said. “The board appreciated it as a positive initiative for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.” The league is planned for March 2013, immediately after Pakistan’s South Africa tour, which ends on March 24.

The board also sanctioned the use of Kookaburra balls in domestic cricket, terming it a ‘positive step’ for the improvement of the domestic game. The PCB is yet to introduce the balls in the ongoing President’s Trophy; the fifth round of the tournament, starting from November 2, will be played with the imported balls.

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