The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is working closely with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and the law-enforcement authorities in Sharjah in the UAE to ensure the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan in March is held without any incidents, a PCB source confirmed.
This comes after clashes broke out between supporters of the two sides following Afghanistan’s defeat to Pakistan in the Asia Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in September last year.
Videos of the incident went viral on social media and showed fans hitting each other with chairs. The fans were also accused of vandalizing the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
A source from Pakistan’s Cricket Board (PCB) meanwhile told Outlook India on Monday that “additional security plans being drawn up for the series will ensure that Pakistani and Afghani supporters sit in separate enclosures away from each other.
“The fans of both teams will enter and exit the Sharjah stadium from different gates to avoid direct contact,” the PCB source said.
According to him, the plan also includes a beefed-up police presence and private security guards during matches.
Last year’s incident in Sharjah was not the first between fans of the two teams. In 2019, violence broke out after a World Cup game between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Headingley. Afghan supporters were accused of damaging property and attacking Pakistani fans – again after losing to Pakistan.
The PCB source meanwhile told Outlook India that the PCB and the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have agreed to work with the ECB and Sharjah police to maintain order during the March series.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to play the T20Is in Sharjah in place of an ODI series, which was postponed last year due to the COVID pandemic.
“There will be measures in place to ensure there is no reactive behavior from fans after the match, no matter what the results,” the source said.