Cricket South Africa okays Karachi as Test venue

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

KARACHI: South African cricket officials have given the green light to their national team playing a Test match in Karachi during a tour of Pakistan this fall.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told the reporter on Tuesday that the South African cricket board (Cricket South Africa) has okayed Karachi as one of the two Test venues during their team’s tour of Pakistan from September 26 to October 29 this year.

“We have sent a tentative itinerary to the South Africans for the series in October which includes Karachi as venue for one of the two Tests,”
said Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s Chief Operating Officer.

In the past, Karachi has been rejected as a Test venue by England, South Africa and India since a bomb blast outside the New Zealand’s team hotel in May 2002 killed 14 people including 11 French naval engineers.

Naghmi said that the PCB wants Karachi to host a Test and a one-dayer during the series against South Africa as it is among the country’s major cricket centres.

He said that the itinerary prepared by PCB officials had Karachi and Lahore as the venues of the two Tests adding that the one-dayers would take place in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan.

Naghmi said that the Board will announce the schedule of the series against South Africa after final approval from top officials.
“The South African officials have agreed to the itinerary sent by us without raising any objections,”
he said.

Naghmi said that it is highly unlikely that the South Africans will send any experts to Pakistan to inspect security measures.
“We have assured them that the South African cricketers will get fool-proof security cover during the tour,”
he said.

Pakistan became a no-go area for foreign cricket teams in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Teams like Australia and the West Indies refused to play in Pakistan because of security fears.

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