Kiwis want to assess security level before signing for Pak tour

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Wellington, Apr 23 : A day after the PCB announced that the Kiwis will tour Pakistan later this year to play a short ODI series, the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said it will assess the level of security in Pakistan before signing for the tour.

An NZC spokesman said that the tour had been agreed in principle, "but would be subject to a check of safety and logistical matters". Discussions over venues and dates for the tour wouldn't be finalised until after the security assessment, The News quoted him as saying.

It is more than four years since New Zealand toured Pakistan, after losing a one-day series 0-5 in December 2003. Their tour in May 2002 was cut short when a suicide bomb exploded outside their Karachi hotel, killing 14 people.

This year's Champions Trophy, starting on September 11, has been restricted to just three venues for security reasons - Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

An International Cricket Council (ICC) security delegation will carry out a final inspection visit of venues in June, with Sri Lanka designated as a reserve host country if the tournament is deemed unsafe.

New Zealand have a 10-week gap in their programme between the tour of England, which finishes on July 3, and their first Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka on September 12.

PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said it had invited New Zealand as part of efforts to arrange international games in the absence of Australia. "They have confirmed they want to play the three games but they want to do it closer to the Champions Trophy so an itinerary is now being worked out. We wanted New Zealand to play five matches but they have agreed on three due to the hectic Champions Trophy schedule," said Naghmi.

ANI

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