Proteas express regret over venue shift

November 14th, 2007 - 2:49 am ICT by admin  
“We deeply regret this decision, especially for the people of Karachi, for having deprived them of this opportunity. But unfortunately the members of the South African contingent are not comfortable travelling to Karachi,” Proteas team manager Logan Naidoo said after the Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to move the Karachi match to Lahore.

“The SA team management, after consulting with Cricket South Africa (CSA) back home, would like the venue to be shifted to some other city. We have already played two matches in Karachi during the current tour and hope to play there on our next tour as well,” the Dawn quoted Naidoo, as saying.

The visitors, wary of a possible security threat in Karachi following the twin bomb blasts in a political rally on October 18, had expressed reservations about playing the final ODI at the National Stadium.

This led to the shift of the venue to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium for the October 29 match.

“The venue has been changed from Karachi to Lahore on the request of the South African team management,” said a PCB spokesman.

“It was on the request of the PCB that the South African team management had sent one of its security officers (Stephen Botha) to Karachi on Tuesday. He held meetings with the various Sindh Government officials in this regard and, despite all assurances given to him, Mr Botha felt that playing in Karachi is not feasible for the Proteas at this moment.

“We are disappointed and feel that Karachi is safe enough to hold any international event. We, however, have no choice but to accept the decision of the South African team management,” the spokesman added.

The South African team management decided to assign a security officer to reassess the situation in Karachi prior to a final decision regarding the match at meeting in Faisalabad with the PCB top brass on Tuesday.

According to the daily, the South African security official, soon after reaching Karachi Tuesday afternoon, took independent opinions from various quarters in the city to know the real position regarding the law and order.

Sources were quoted as saying that the South African security official - after completing the tour of the city - submitted a report which was discussed by the South African cricket authorities back home as well as by their team management in Pakistan, before the final decision was announced. (ANI)

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