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Pak threaten to claim damages

Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday threatened to sue South Africa for $7 million in losses from their cricket tour cancellation.

india Updated: Sep 22, 2003 17:42 IST

Pakistan on Monday threatened to sue South Africa for $7 million in losses from their cricket tour cancellation, unless the International Cricket Council (ICC) intervened to force a rethink by the Proteas.

"The ICC must keep in mind the loss Pakistan cricket would suffer due to South Africa's pullout," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Tauqir Zia said in a letter to ICC president Ehsan Mani.

"We expect the ICC to intervene and instruct UCBSA (United Cricket Board of South Africa) to cooperate and take the tour as planned."

The PCB estimates it will lose $7 million in sponsorship and television rights from South Africa's last minute cancellation.

If the ICC fails to intervene, the PCB will take South Africa to the council's dispute committee to claim losses, Zia said.

The Proteas called off their tour on Saturday, one day before they were due to depart for Pakistan, in the wake of a minor bomb blast in an empty Karachi office building on Friday night. No one was injured in the blast.

The UCBSA said security in Pakistan had deteriorated to an unacceptable level, and offered to either play the series outside Pakistan or delay the tour until security improved.

The PCB is seeking to resurrect the tour by dropping Karachi as a venue and postponing it by one week.

The Proteas had been scheduled to arrive on Monday and play a warm-up match in Karachi on Wednesday ahead of a month-long Test and one-day series.

"We have already written to UCBSA suggesting postponement by a week and excluding Karachi as a venue. A copy of rescheduled tour has also been sent to the ICC," Zia's letter said.

The South African pullout has triggered a wave of bitter disappointment across the cricket-mad Islamic republic, which has been starved of international cricket for 15 months.

A wave of violence against Westerners and Christians has kept foreign teams away since May 2002, when a suicide bomber blew up a busload of French naval engineers outside the New Zealand cricket team's Karachi hotel.

The Kiwis abandoned their tour and fled, and Australia and the West Indies subsequently cancelled their tours. Rival India has refused to play here since 2000.

Zia said the total loss to Pakistan of cancelled tours was already around 30 million dollars.
"Such losses are unacceptable to Pakistan cricket," he wrote.

Pakistan is also upset that Bangladesh's trouble-free five week tour, which was wrapped up in Karachi Sunday, had no impact on South Africa's decision.

The decision to cancel came only two days after a South African security delegation, dispatched to Pakistan to conduct on-the-spot security surveys, gave the green light to the tour.

Zia also raised the mugging of two Pakistani cricketers in Johannesburg during a tour in 1998. That tour continued.

"The crime rate in Johannesburg is far more than anywhere else but teams visit South Africa regularly," he said, adding the Pakistani government had assured top level security to visiting teams.

PCB chief executive Ramiz Raja said South African referee Mike Procter, who has been in Pakistan for the past five weeks for the Pakistan-Bangladesh series, had promised to help revive the tour.

"I have talked to Procter who has promised to talk to cricket officials in South Africa to convince them for a rescheduled tour," Raja told reporters on Sunday.

First Published: Sep 22, 2003 10:02 IST