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Injured Fleming pulls out of Pak tour

The Kiwi skipper is returning home with a stomach muscle injury and will not go to Pakistan. A decision on the tour itself would be taken on Tuesday.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2003 01:49 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Cricket officials in New Zealand said on Monday they would make a decision on Tuesday on whether the national team would tour Pakistan.

The tour has been thrown into doubt by an e-mailed threat to the team.

New Zealand Cricket said in a short statement it was still assessing the seriousness of the threat to the team, which is due to play five one-day matches from Nov. 22.

The New Zealand team, currently touring India, is due to fly to Pakistan on Thursday.

Four players have already pulled out of the Pakistan leg of the trip due to safety fears and captain Stephen Fleming is returning home with a stomach muscle injury.

The one-day series was scheduled partly to replace a similar series in May last year, abandoned after a bomb blast outside the New Zealand team's Karachi Hotel.

The New Zealand team fled Pakistan after the blast, which killed 14 people including 12 foreign workers.

New Zealand Cricket said Monday its assessment of the security risk implicit in the Pakistan tour was ongoing.

"The process may be completed tomorrow afternoon and there will be no further comment from New Zealand Cricket until the process is completed," the association said.

Batsmen Craig McMillan and Lou Vincent, fast bowler Ian Butler and all-rounder Scott Styris have elected to return to New Zealand at the end of the Indian tour on Wednesday. Team video analyst Zach Hitchcock is also returning home.

New Zealand Cricket has said it is reviewing security measures in Pakistan with the assistance of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and through its own security consultant.

The two-sentence e-mail which contained a threat to the team's safety was received by a New Zealand diplomatic post last Tuesday and passed on to New Zealand Cricket by the foreign affairs ministry.

Pakistan Cricket Board officials have placed increasing pressure on New Zealand to go ahead with the tour, threatening to cancel a scheduled tour to New Zealand in December if the one-day series does not take place.

The Pakistan tour, which includes a lucrative Boxing Day test in Wellington, is an important element of New Zealand Cricket's annual budget.

Pakistan has given New Zealand security assurances surrounding the forthcoming tour. None of the one-day matches will be played in or near Karachi, a region that has seen frequent outbreaks of violence between Indian and Pakistani forces.

"Bangladesh and South Africa have completed successful tours of Pakistan without any problems so we are not ready to accept any New Zealand cancellation," a Pakistan Cricket Board official said.

First Published: Nov 17, 2003 09:57 IST