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SA refuses to play in Karachi

The Pakistani authorities are very disappointed and have decided to shift the match venue to Lahore.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 24, 2007 08:57 PM IST

The South African cricket team on Wednesday refused to play their fifth and final one-dayer in blast-hit Karachi, forcing the Pakistani authorities to shift the match to Lahore.

"Their decision is very disappointing. They decided not to play in Karachi despite all security assurances given to them by the (Pakistan Cricket) Board and top security officials," said PCB's chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi.

"They had sent their security officer to Karachi to inspect everything himself. He met with the top officials and was given every sort of assurances. But despite this they have told us they would like the match shifted to any other venue," he said.

Naghmi said for the PCB only possible option was to shift the match to Lahore.

"We had no option but to shift the match to Lahore which is the most viable option for us at this moment because of the last minute changes in logistical details," he said.

Naghmi said the PCB had no doubt that Karachi was safe to host any international event but it had no other choice than to accept the decision of the South African management.

The South African team was badly shaken after a suspected suicide bomber attacked the rally of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, killing around 140 people and injuring some 500 people last Friday.

"We think Karachi is a good international cricket venue but at this moment our security officer after discussions with cricket South Africa didn't feel it was the right time to let our players travel to Karachi and play there," said Logan Naidoo, the touring team manager.

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