The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pak legends hail Proteas’ U-turn

Karachi: Pakistan cricket legends hailed South Africa’s decision to revive their tour of the South Asian country here on Wednesday.

“Our winter would have been left dry without the South African tour but as they have changed their minds, their coming to Pakistan means spring returns to Pakistan cricket,” former captain Wasim Bari said.

“We welcome them with open hearts and minds and they should also tour with open minds, they will be looked after like state guests and that’s our promise,” Bari added.

Withdrawing their earlier decision, South Africa on Tuesday said they would take part in a shortened tour of Pakistan later this year comprising two Tests and five one-day games.

The Graeme Smith-led Proteas were due to start the tour last Monday but South African officials called it off over the weekend citing security fears following a bomb blast in the southern port city of Karachi.

Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram said the South African visit would “change the impressions about Pakistan.” Pakistan deserved more cricket and excuses on security were unacceptable, former captain Intikhab Alam felt. “It’s propaganda about a lack of security in Pakistan, we deserve more cricket so that the games development does not stop here,” said Alam.

South Africa will be only the second western team to tour Pakistan since the September 11 2001 attacks on the United States and its aftermath in Afghanistan.

New Zealand had to cut short their tour of Pakistan in May last year.

Bari said Pakistan had suffered a lot, both financially and cricket wise and things must change now. (AFP)

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