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Pakistan allows Kiwis to delay tour

The Pakistan Cricket Board agreed to allow New Zealand to delay its tour of the South Asian nation by a week after the visitors received an e-mail threatening their security in Pakistan.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2003 22:45 IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board agreed Monday to allow New Zealand to delay its tour of the South Asian nation by a week after the visitors received an e-mail threatening their security in Pakistan.

The proposed five-match one-day series would be the New Zealand players' first visit to Pakistan since May 2002 when they fled the country after a bomb exploded outside their hotel in the southern port city of Karachi. Fourteen people were killed in the blast, including 12 foreign workers.

"At the moment the PCB can only confirm that it has agreed to reschedule New Zealand's tour to Pakistan," Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Samiul Hasan told The Associated Press.

"We are in the process of completing the series details, which we hope to finalize by Tuesday afternoon," Hasan added.

The tour was originally scheduled to begin in Faisalabad on Nov. 20. The cricket board proposed Monday to instead hold the first match in Lahore on Nov. 27.

Hasan said New Zealand Cricket had requested extra time for some players to rest following their participation in a triangular series in India.

"NZC wanted its players to have some gap after the Indian tour," Hasan said.

The New Zealand board said earlier Monday it was assessing the seriousness of the e-mailed threat to the team.

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

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

Last week four New Zealand players- Craig McMillan, Scott Styris, Lou Vincent and Ian Butler- opted out of the Pakistan tour due to security fears.

Skipper Stephen Fleming was also due to head home early thanks to a stomach muscle injury picked up in India.

The PCB said the e-mailed security warning was a "hoax letter" and threatened to withdraw Pakistan from a tour of New Zealand, scheduled for next month, if New Zealand failed to fulfill its commitment in Pakistan.

But the PCB was confident the Kiwis tour of Pakistan would go ahead.

"We have been in constant touch for the last three days with the NZC and we hope New Zealand will tour Pakistan," Hasan said.

First Published: Nov 17, 2003 22:45 IST