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NZ await virus update

Auckland: The New Zealand team is monitoring the deadly viral pneumonia outbreak in eastern Asia before deciding whether to tour Sri Lanka later this month, captain Stephen Fleming said Monday.

The squad is scheduled to fly to Sri Lanka via Singapore in less than a fortnight for the start of their tour but has some concerns about the rapidly spreading severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which has killed nearly 100 people.

“We’re going to have to watch it,” Fleming said. “If it progresses as expected we might have a problem getting there. When you take into account insurance complications and the already tight security measures... It’s definitely something to watch.”

NZC spokesman Simon Wilson said his organisation was unlikely to make a decision until much closer to the departure date. Sri Lanka’s volatile civil relationship condition is also a factor. “NZC is watching developments, talking to various authorities, and assessing the entire picture in terms of security and safety, as it does with all overseas tours.”

New Zealand players’ association executive manager Heath Mills said his organisation had fielded some concerns from players. “We’ve certainly been following it,” he said.

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