Armed Security for India's History Men

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL THOMSON

INDIA'S cricketers were greeted by guns and guards today as they began their first full tour of Pakistan for nearly 15 years.

Sourav Ganguly's team will be surrounded by a presidential level of security for the historic tour over the next 35 days, which takes in five one-day internationals and three Tests.

The 16 players and half a dozen officials arrived at Allama Iqbal airport on a private flight from New Delhi yesterday to be greeted not only by officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board but a security screen at least four layers thick.

India's visit is seen as a potent symbol of warming relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals divided by religion and border disputes.

Delhi and Islamabad will hold talks later this year on their longrunning dispute over Kashmir.

The long-awaited tour has provoked a huge amount of excitement and anticipation in both countries. "The tour transcends sports, it is much more than cricket, it is passion," said former Pakistan captain-turned politician Imran Khan.

Thousands of Indians have bought tickets over the internet to watch the matches and travel to Pakistan, most of whom are visiting for the first time. …