Islamabad: A South African delegation said on Tuesday it was satisfied with Pakistani security arrangements for the Proteas’ upcoming tour but a final decision on the series would only be made by government and cricket officials in Johannesburg.
“Our job was to inspect security arrangements for the South African team starting from the airport to hotels and the grounds. And I can say that we are satisfied with them,” Ian Smith, spokesman of the three-member delegation said.
“We will submit a detailed report on the security here to the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) and to the government and it is up to them to take a final decision,” said Smith, also a commercial director of the UCBSA. “The Pakistan cricket board (PCB), police and rangers have put up a great display of arrangements for us and we hope the same will be done for the team as well.”
Pakistan have suffered a cricket drought in the past 18 months, with foreign teams refusing to tour the country following two suicide bomb blasts in Karachi during Test series in May and June last year.
Pakistan were forced to play two of their ‘home’ series matches against the West Indies and Australia at neutral venues last year as both teams refused to tour the country. The UCBSA had demanded that the PCB relocate matches scheduled for the violence-prone Karachi and Peshawar, over security concerns.
The South African delegation which also includes UCBSA security director Bob Nicholas and Director of South African police services Ben van Denter visited Karachi and Peshawar on Monday and also held a meeting with South Africa’s High Commissioner in Islamabad on Tuesday.
“We know there are no specific threats to the South African cricket team in Pakistan but we are not in a position to clear the tour,” Smith said. Police and para-military officials briefed the delegation on security and also showed them all the drills reserved for the team. The South African team, announced on Monday, is due to arrive in Karachi on Monday to play three Tests and three ODIs. They are scheduled to play an ODI and a Test in Karachi and a Test in Peshawar. (AFP)