Mali has no regrets on delaying tour | india | Hindustan Times
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Mali has no regrets on delaying tour

A top South African cricket official said that delaying a tour of Pakistan by a week eased security concerns without depriving the cricket-crazy country of a high-profile visit.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2003 19:27 IST

A top South African cricket official said Wednesday that delaying a tour of Pakistan by a week eased security concerns without depriving the cricket-crazy country of a high-profile visit.

Ray Mali, president of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, said he believes Pakistan deserves to host international matches and should be supported.

"The people of Pakistan love the game. They are mad about cricket and I believe they must be supported by all of us for sake of world cricket to survive," Mali told reporters as his team played Lahore City Nazim XI in a one-day warm-up game.

The tour was in danger of cancellation due to security concerns following a bombing in the port city of Karachi on Sept. 19, but is going ahead after Pakistan agreed to South Africa's request to drop Karachi and Peshawar from the itinerary.

Mali said the decision to delay the tour was taken on intelligence reports that said Peshawar and Karachi "were not conducive to an atmopshere of playing cricket, and we could not have bypassed those reports."

"We have come to Pakistan after a delay of a week. I have no regrets on the decision of delaying the tour," he said. Mali urged the International Cricket Council to be proactive and look at security "not only in Pakistan and India" but around the world during this month's Executive Board's meeting in the West Indies.

"I am sure it will be a subject of debate," he said. "It is an issue we feel strongly about. I believe within our own structure we do have the capacity to deal with it. (The ICC) dealt with the corruption issue, and I believe there are people who can be given the task to look after the security."

Mali said no South African player wanted to pull out of the Pakistan tour at any time.

"Without any doubt, I am pleased with the cooperation which we got from the Pakistan Cricket Board. Working as a team (with the PCB) was special, and at the end of the day, we managed to save the tour," he said.

South Africa will play one-day internationals in Lahore on Friday and Sunday and Faisalabad on Tuesday. Rawalpindi will then host two internationals Oct. 10 and 12. The tests are slated for Lahore on Oct. 17-21 and Faisalabad on Oct. 24-28.