The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pakistan threaten to sue Proteas
- UCBSA management committee to consider revised itinerary today

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will file a damages claim for approximately $7 million against its South African counterparts if its tour of Pakistan does not go ahead.

The matter would be considered by the governing body of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) disputes resolution committee. “The figure of seven million is an estimated one and includes our total earnings from the series including sale of television rights, title sponsorship and other sponsorship deals,” PCB spokesman Samiul Hasan said on Monday.

PCB chairman Tauqir Zia has laid out the estimated loss of earnings that could result from cancellation of the tour in a letter to ICC president Ehsan Mani, Hasan added.

Hasan said that the PCB had already suffered losses of around $30 million due to the Indian government’s refusal to allow its team to play in Pakistan for the last two years. “If other teams also do not visit Pakistan then the loss to Pakistan cricket will be unbearable,” he said.

The Proteas called off their tour on Saturday, one day before they were due to depart for Pakistan, in the wake of a minor bomb blast in an empty Karachi office building on Friday night. No one was injured in the blast. The UCBSA said security in Pakistan had deteriorated to an unacceptable level, and offered to either play the series outside Pakistan or delay the tour until security improved.

The PCB is seeking to resurrect the tour by dropping Karachi as a venue and postponing it by one week. The South African board’s management committee will meet on Tuesday to consider the revised tour schedule. The revised schedule would omit matches in Peshawar and Karachi.

The Proteas had been scheduled to arrive on Monday and play a warm-up match in Karachi on Wednesday ahead of a month-long Test and one-day series.

“We have already written to UCBSA suggesting postponement by a week and excluding Karachi as a venue. A copy of rescheduled tour has also been sent to the ICC,” Zia’s letter said.

PCB chief executive Rameez Raja said South African referee Mike Procter, who has been in Pakistan for the past five weeks for the Pakistan-Bangladesh series, had promised to help revive the tour. “I have talked to Procter who has promised to talk to cricket officials in South Africa to convince them for a rescheduled tour,” Raja told reporters on Sunday.

Meanwhile, PCB is also exploring the possibility of sending Raja to South Africa by Tuesday to convince UCBSA and its players’ association to review their decision. The possibility of sending Raja was discussed on Sunday between Zia and Raja but no final decision has been taken.

“The feeling is that Rameez would stand a very good chance of having fruitful negotiations with the South Africans across the table rather than on telephone or through video conferencing,” PCB officials were quoted as saying by The News.

Board sources also said they were expecting a response from the South Africans on the revised itinerary and tour in the next 48 hours.

Pakistan one-day captain Inzamam-ul Haq also urged South Africa to reconsider their decision. “It would deprive millions of cricket fans (in Pakistan),” Inzamam said. “It’s unfair to call off the tour."

Meanwhile, Pakistan is also upset that Bangladesh’s trouble-free five-week tour, which was wrapped up in Karachi on Sunday, had no impact on South Africa’s decision. The decision to cancel came only two days after a South African security delegation, dispatched to Pakistan to conduct on-the-spot security surveys, gave the green light to the tour.

Bangladesh team manager M.A. Latif said on Monday that his team faced no security problems during their tour of Pakistan. “From Karachi to Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi we did not face any security problems,” Latif said.

“We played a Test match (in Karachi) last month and a one-day match on Sunday and the security at present is excellent. None of our players had any security problem whatsoever,” Latif added. (Agencies)

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