The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Miandad urges SA not to change venues

Islamabad: Even as a South African security delegation arrived in Karachi on Sunday, Pakistan coach Javed Miandad has urged the visitors not to insist on changing the venues of the Karachi and Peshawar Tests saying such a move could “hurt” the game.

Miandad said South Africa’s demand was bound to create problems instead of solving them.

“Karachi is the country’s biggest city where millions of fans are anxiously waiting to see the star-studded South Africa team in action.

“I hope South African authorities will use cricket for the betterment and not for increasing problems,” he was quoted as saying by the local daily Dawn.

On its part, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has offered security usually reserved for heads of state to the visitors.

Miandad said security concern was a factor which could come into play anywhere in the world and believed that terrorists’ designs were never to harm sportspersons.

“If terrorists wanted to harm sportspersons then they could have hurt New Zealand team in Karachi last year,” he said.

Miandad said Pakistan had visited Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka setting aside the threat of security concerns and expected the same response from others.

SA delegation arrives

Meanwhile, a three-man delegation from South Africa arrived in Karachi on Sunday to assess security arrangements for the team’s tour of Pakistan starting later this week.

The delegation, which includes the director of the South African police service Ben van Deventer and commercial director Ian Smith, will go to Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad before returning home on Wednesday.

However, a PCB spokesman said that the delegation members would not be speaking to the media at any stage during their visit.

“It has been decided that in the larger interest of the coming tour the delegation members should not give comments to the media and their task is to submit their findings to the UCBSA,” media manager Samiul Hasan said.

The delegation, accompanied by the PCB cricket operations manager Zakir Khan, on Sunday visited the National Stadium in Karachi, where South Africa are scheduled to play a one-day practice game, the first one-day International on September 26 and then the third Test in October.

The tour includes three Tests and three ODIs.

“The PCB understands the concerns of the South Africans and is providing all co-operation to the delegation as we believe the tour should go ahead on schedule and want the original itinerary to be followed,” Hasan said.

PCB chief executive Rameez Raja said he was confident that the South Africans would agree to play in Karachi and Peshawar. “We are willing to give them all the assurances and security measures they want in place for the tour which is very important to Pakistan cricket,” Raja said.

The Pakistan board’s effort to convince the UCBSA to go ahead with the tour has received a boost with the International Cricket Council (ICC) Match Referee Mike Procter praising the security arrangements and conditions in Pakistan. “I have found the arrangements including the security to be excellent,” the former South African allrounder said on Saturday.

Pakistan has been a no-go zone for most cricketing nations since the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

The Pakistan government’s subsequent backing of the US sparked a backlash from Islamic militant groups who targeted western interests. The current tour by Bangladesh is the first full tour to Pakistan by any country since the attacks.

Email This Page