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World T20: Pakistan team lands in Kolkata

KOLKATA/LAHORE: A 27-member Pakistan squad comprising of cricketers and management officials landed at Kolkata airport on Saturday evening after much debate over security threats to the team across the border, ARY News reported.

The Pakistani team made its way out of the airport under tight security buffer, while fans were also kept at distance from the Afridi 11. Journalists were also not allowed to reach out to Pakistan players for comment.

The Pakistan squad departed to hotel from Kolkata airport in a bomb-proof bus. Afridi-11 will play its only warm-up match against Sri Lanka on Monday and first qualifier on Wednesday. Earlier, Pakistan cricket team left for India in order to take part in the ICC World Twenty20 championship, after the Indian government provided them assurances of foolproof security. As the players were about to leave for India from Lahore airport, they were cheered on by supporters who chanted slogans in favour of the cricket team. The 15-man Pakistani squad and 12-member coaching staff departed for India around 1:00 am last night.

It seemed that supporters had forgotten about the national team’s embarrassing defeat at the recently-held Asia Cup, since they saw the team off with prayers and slogans. The team left for India via an international flight which arrived Abu Dhabi and from there, it took them to New Delhi. The team then reached Kolkata.

Pakistan will play their sole warm-up match against Sri Lanka on 14th March while it will play against a qualifier on 16th March. Which team qualifies to play against the green shirts will be revealed on 13th March, after the qualifying round concludes.

Pakistan and India are set to clash against each other in Kolkata on March 19. Earlier, the national team’s inclusion into the championship had been unclear after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh declined to provide security to the visiting Pakistan cricket team. After guaranteeing foolproof security for the national team, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar gave the green signal for the cricket team to depart for India.

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