Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
HOSTS Zimbabwe have assured the Australia national cricket team that they have “nothing to fear” ahead of the upcoming Triangular Series at Harare Sports Club from this Sunday.
The Aussies are expected in the country today for the series which also features world number one side, Pakistan.
The Pakistan team also arrive in Harare today.
The Australians are flying from England where they played a one-off T20 match yesterday in the back of a disappointing five-match One Day International whitewash defeat.
The tourists had earlier advised they were monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe and were advised to “exercise a high degree of caution” following a bomb blast at a political rally in Bulawayo last Sunday.
However, the series has never been in doubt since Zimbabwe has generally been a peaceful nation.
A Zimbabwe Cricket official yesterday said security has been beefed up around the hotels and at the Harare Sports Club where the matches will take place for the whole of next week, beginning Sunday, when Zimbabwe lock horns with Pakistan.
“There is really nothing to fear. Despite that incident, Zimbabwe is still a safe destination and as usual security has been boosted ahead of the series.
“In fact, nothing has been left to chance,’’ said the official.
Security arrangements of the visiting teams in T20I cricket is the responsibility of the home board.
The ICC has also dispatched their security personnel to monitor the situation on the ground.
The ICC security official arrived in the country on Tuesday.
But both the Australian government and the cricket team have been convinced about touring Zimbabwe.
Australian captain Aaron Finch told a press conference that it’s “all systems go” after getting a positive briefing from their security personnel.
“We were briefed on it last night by Frank (Dimasi) our security guy and all systems go. With DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), the Australian Government and Cricket Australia, they’ll make sure that all the due diligence is done to make sure it is safe.
“But at this stage I haven’t heard any unease from the players in regards to going,” said Finch.
Cricket Australia, however, is continuing to monitor the situation closely.
“The safety and security of our players and support staff is paramount and as always, we will take advice from the relevant Australian authorities,” said a CA spokesperson.
Zimbabwe hosted nine teams earlier this year in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier and the tournament passed without any incident.
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth.
Pakistan T20I squad: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Sahibzada Farhan.
Pakistan ODI squad: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam (subject to fitness), Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan*, Usman Khan*, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Haris Sohail.