ABU DHABI // A four-member security review team from Australia inspected the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi yesterday ahead of the country's series with Pakistan comprising five one-day internationals and a twenty20 match next month. The capital, along with Dubai, has been lined up to host Pakistan's home series since the UAE is considered a safe alternate venue. While the visit was scheduled in advance and part of routine procedure adopted by Cricket Australia (CA), the visit gained significance in the wake of Tuesday's attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.
Among the officials were the Australian team manager Steve Bernard, who arrived from South Africa where the team are battling for the top spot in the world rankings with the Proteas. Representing the Pakistan Cricket Board were Zakir Khan, the director of operations, and Aaquib Javed, the team's bowling coach. They will visit the Dubai Sports City, the other venue, today. "They [the contingent] had a meeting with our security consultants and were reasonably happy. We have been following the security manual provided by the International Cricket Council very seriously from the beginning," said Dilawar Mani, the president of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council.
With the Lahore attack on the Sri Lankan team happening on route from the hotel to the stadium, extra focus was on all aspects besides the stadium and the adjoining cricket academy, where the teams normally practice on arrival. "They met with the security officials of the designated team hotel and the staff as well and studied the approach points to the stadium. They didn't indicate any shortcomings but should they have any, I am sure they will get back to us," Mani said.
Meanwhile, in Durban, the openers Phillip Hughes (115) and Simon Katich (108) provided a solid start with attacking centuries on the opening day of the second Test against South Africa. After the opening stand, the Proteas dismissed captain Ricky Ponting and his deputy, Michael Clarke, early but Michael Hussey and Marcus North saw through to stumps as Australia closed the day on 303-4. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org