Pakistan's cricketers arrive for practice at Karachi's National Stadium under heavy guard ©Getty Images

International men’s cricket returns to Karachi's National Stadium today for the first time since 2009 when West Indies play the first of three Twenty 20 Internationals against Pakistan on consecutive days under strict security conditions.

In 2009, eight people were killed when a bus carrying the Sri Lanka team was fired upon by gunmen as it headed towards the Gaddafi Stadium before the third day of the second Test against Pakistan in Lahore.

The attack left six members of the squad injured, while six police officers and two civilians were killed.

Since then Pakistan have had to play home games at neutral venues, primarily in the United Arab Emirates.

Cricket fans in Pakistan have craved regular live international cricket since then and the game has returned to Pakistan to some degree in recent times.

Zimbabwe toured them in 2015 for a short limited-overs series, and since then Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium has hosted three World XI exhibition Twenty20 matches, a T20 International against Sri Lanka and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in 2017.

More recently, Karachi hosted the final of the 2018 edition of the PSL.

Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave claimed these T20Is will not be considered anything less than "full internationals".

And though West Indies have not been able to name their strongest possible squad - Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder and Devendra Bishoo, all of whom helped to earn a qualifying place for the Cricket World Cup last month, decided to skip the series due to security concerns - the International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 2016 champions should have enough quality to keep the home side up to the mark.

"All players understand the impact that not playing at home has had on cricket in Pakistan," said Grave.

"Several of our players took part in the World XI and Pakistan Super League matches in Pakistan, and they are supportive."

There is, Grave claimed, a mutual support system among the cricket boards to help each other out.

"The World XI games were a clear indication from the Pakistan Cricket Board ( PCB) that it was manageable for international cricket to return to Pakistan," he said.

"All [cricket] Boards want to be playing at home, on home soil, in front of the home fans.

"Pakistan were being forced to play away [in the United Arab Emirates] for so long that everyone in world cricket was supportive of cricket returning to Pakistan."

As regards the West Indies players who chose not to travel Grave added: "We fully accept that position and it will not be held against them."

Details of the tour were announced in March by Najam Sethi, the PCB chairman.

The forthcoming matches will involve a multi-layered security clearance procedure before the spectators can enter the Stadium.

Spectators will park in designated areas before boarding shuttle buses to drop zones near the Stadium.

There will be several physical searches at different places.

Spectators will then walk from the drop zones to the Stadium gates - a distance of about 200-300 metres - before undergoing another physical search at the stadium gates.

They will then be guided to their seats by PCB staff.