RAWALPINDI                  -             Bangladesh cricket team arrived at Islamabad International Airport on Wednesday and went straight to the hotel amid tight security.

Azhar Ali-led Pakistan and Mominul Haque-led Bangladesh teams cancelled their scheduled practice session at Pindi Stadium on Wednesday and decided to take much-needed rest. They will now practise today (Thursday) here at Pindi Stadium before start of the first Test, where the series trophy will also be unveiled, while both skippers will also hold press conferences.

Bangladesh team players were wearing masks as precautionary measures against Coronavirus. After taking rest for a while, Bangladeshi players and officials enjoyed lavish breakfast at hotel and fully praised Pakistani food and hospitality of Pakistani people, PCB officials, hotel employees.

The reliable sources present at the hotel with Pakistan team informed this scribe that despite calling off the practice session of Pakistan team, different meetings and gym session kept on going between the team management and players, which were from bowling to batting and fielding.

A day earlier, star batsman Babar Azam also visited a sports goods shop and inaugurated it. As the masses were informed about Babar’s presence at the Bank Road, Saddar, they came in huge numbers and they were responded well by the Pakistan T20 captain. The massive security arrangements were also made and after spending almost an hour or so, Babar left the venue and joined teammates at the hotel.

Meanwhile, security forces have made fool-proof arrangements for both the teams’ practice sessions as well as for the first Test to be played from tomorrow. All the roads leading towards stadium will remain closed during practise sessions and till the departure of teams busses, while main Murree Road will be fully operational and only one side will be closed during the Test match.

The traffic will be shifted to different roads and also traffic police ensured smooth flow of traffic by allowing vehicles to run on single road opposite to the stadium road, which is a great initiative, as it will help the masses and especially the school going kids. Last time too, traffic police allowed traffic on single road, which was highly appreciated by the locals.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also took great lessons from the past and issued accreditation cards to only working sports journalists, cameramen and photographers on the demand of the genuine sports journalists of the twin cities. PCB Director Media Sami-ul-Hassan Burni had promised during the Sri Lankan series that in future, only working sports journalists will be issued accreditations and the promise was duly fulfilled. The two-member PCB media team arrived in Islamabad and finalised the names of accredited sports journalists, cameramen and photographers.

The sports journalists of twin cities not only fully backed the PCB’s initiative, but also promised to cooperate fully in all such measures taken by the board for improving the working relationship of sports community and the board. Sami also promised that access to the ground, media centre and press conference area will only be given to genuine sports journalists, as in the past, lot of mismanagement was witnessed, especially during the Sri Lankan Test, where non-professionals were sitting in the media centre, which was presenting fish market look.

Meanwhile, the PCB, keeping in mind the crowd’s passion, has also decided to make free entry in general stands for the masses, while very nominal rates of Rs 50 and RS 100 were fixed for other stands. It is hoped that like Sri Lankan Test match, the crowd will come in huge numbers and make the venue jam-packed.