Bangalore: Amid cheers from waiting fans, the Pakistan Twenty20 squad led by Mohammed Hafeez, landed here on Saturday night for its much-waited tour of the country during which it will play two T20 matches, first of which will be held on December 25.

The 15-member squad landed at the Bangalore International Airport at around 9:45 pm, for what will be the first bilateral series between India and Pakistan since 2007. After a brief reception ceremony, the team came out around 9:50 pm through the terminal transfer lounge.

The players, clad in green blazers, boarded the team buses and immediately drove down to a city hotel, escorted by pilot cars. After KSCA officials welcomed the Pakistani players and officials, the team was whisked away to the hotel. Against the backdrop of Shiv Sena and right wing outfit Sri Ram Sene’s threat to disrupt the Indo-Pak cricket series, tight security was provided for the Pakistan team’s arrival at the airport. Karnataka State Reserve Police, Central Industrial Security Force, city police and gun-totting City Armed Reserves personnel were deployed at the airport.

Dog squads also were engaged and the security personnel monitored people’s movement through CCTVs installed at the airport. Pakistan will start their campaign against the hosts with the T20 match on the Christmas Day at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here. The visiting team is scheduled to practice at the stadium today morning and captain Hafeez and coach Dav Whatmore would address the media around 12:30 pm.

After Bangalore, Pakistan will play their second T20 match against India at Ahmedabad on December 27 before heading to Chennai for the first of the three-match ODI series, starting December 30. The second ODI will be played at Kolkata on January 3, while Delhi will host the final One-Dayer on January 6.The last time the two neighbouring countries met in a bilateral series was in 2007 when Pakistan toured India. Cricketing ties between the two nations were snapped after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

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Free Press Journal