Durban: South Africa have reversed their decision to cancel a tour of Pakistan after the hosts offered a revised itinerary, the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) said on Tuesday.
“It has been decided in principle that the tour will go ahead,” UCBSA spokesman Moabi Litheko said. He said the decision was taken at a meeting of the management committee of Cricket South Africa (CSA) in Johannesburg. South Africa captain Graeme Smith and coach Eric Simons also attended.
The CSA statement said: “The resolution to proceed with the tour in principle is subject to the board remaining satisfied...with both the security plan and the satisfactory implementation thereof by the Pakistani authorities at all locations where the members of the national squad will be present.
“The decision is also subject to ongoing monitoring of the security situation prevailing in Pakistan, and the right to reverse the decision should the level of risk in that country deteriorate to an unacceptable level.”
South Africa had initially been scheduled to play three one-day Internationals and three Tests, at Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi, between September 26 and October 27, but the revised itinerary drops one of the Tests.
South Africa will now tour Pakistan from October 1-28 to play two Tests and five one-day Internationals, Pakistan Cricket Board sources said in Karachi.
The PCB has proposed that the five one-dayers will be played before the two Tests, which are to be played at Lahore and Faisalabad. The one-day games will be held in Lahore (two), Rawalpindi (two) and Faisalabad (one).
“It is satisfying that the South Africans are coming,” PCB chairman Lt Gen. Tauqir Zia said. “But I am not happy with the venues.
“I desperately wanted Karachi and Peshawar to be included in the revised tour itinerary. It has been a very difficult decision for the board and me to ignore these two main venues, which recently hosted international matches against Bangladesh,” he added.
The Pakistan tour was given a final go-ahead last week, but the UCBSA then decided to call it off because of a bomb blast in Karachi on Friday. However, the PCB said it would claim damages of approximately $7 million from the UCBSA if it did not reverse its decision to cancel the tour.
The South African cricket authorities decided to meet on Tuesday to discuss the revised itinerary. “The tour is confirmed and there are no problems with that,” PCB chief executive Rameez Raja said. “But we are in the process of finalising the itinerary.
In another development, ICC president Ehsan Mani has criticised the way the UCBSA handled the whole issue, but welcomed its decision to go ahead with a revised itinerary.
Mani said he was worried there had been an apparent lack of consultation between the relevant bodies before the original decision not to tour was reached.
Meanwhile, a much-relieved PCB warmly welcomed South Africa’s decision to tour Pakistan according a revised schedule, adds a report from Islamabad. “We welcome the UCB’s decision wholeheartedly. It certainly lights many hearts of cricket fans here,” PCB spokesman Samiul Hassan said.