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PCB may send Ramiz Raja to SA

The Pakistan Cricket Board is exploring the possibility of sending its CEO, Ramiz Raja to South Africa by Tuesday to convince the UCBSA and its players to review their decision.

india Updated: Sep 22, 2003 12:48 IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board is exploring the possibility of sending its Chief Executive, Ramiz Raja to South Africa by Tuesday to convince the United Cricket Board of South Africa and its players' association to review their decision to cancel their tour of Pakistan.

The possibility of sending Raja was discussed yesterday between PCB Chairman Lt General Tauqir Zia and Raja but no final decision has been taken.

"The feeling is that Rameez would stand a very good chance of having fruitful negotiations with the South Africans across the table rather than on telephone or through video conferencing," PCB officials were quoted as saying by The News.

They said PCB has not given up hope despite the cancellation of tour by UCB. "We have not given up hope as yet. We have sent a rescheduled itinerary to the South Africans reducing the Test series to two matches and three one-dayers. We have also offered them a shift of venues. But so far we are waiting for a response from them," they said.

"We are giving them the option of playing just two Tests now so that they can make the tour even after a week's delay."

Board sources also said they were expecting a response from the South Africans on the revised itinerary and tour in the next 48 hours.

PCB has also asked the match-referee Mike Procter to use his influence to convince the UCB on the ground realities about security in Pakistan as he has been in the country for the last five weeks.

Procter officiated as Match referee in the just concluded Test and one-day series between Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"The PCB is hoping that Procter who is due to return home tomorrow will also be able to convince the UCB and the players to review their cancellation decision," officials said.

In the original itinerary, South Africa was to play three Tests at Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi, but the PCB has now cancelled the Karachi match and given the South Africans the option of playing the Peshawar Test in Rawalpindi.

They said Pakistan had already sent a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) drawing its attention to the financial losses that would be incurred by Pakistan if South Africa didn't reverse their decision.

"We have certain contractual obligations with our television producers and we have to give them a minimum number of international matches," Ramiz Raja said.

The Dubai-based Ten Sports channel which markets television rights for the PCB have sold the rights of the South African series to broadcasters for over four million dollars.

Raja said Pakistan was very concerned about the financial implications from South Africa's cancelled tour and would pursue this matter with the ICC and the UCB if the rescheduled itinerary was not accepted.

"Obviously we are very upset with what has happened and with the way the South Africans have gone about this issue. But we are trying to convince them they have a certain obligation to the sport and to the people of Pakistan as responsible members of the cricket community and as global partners of the ICC," Raja said reacting to the cancellation.

He said he had spoken to some UCB officials and pointed out that the South African cricketers now had a very good opportunity to become heroes by agreeing to tour Pakistan after all.

"It is a tour everyone has been looking forward too. It would be disappointing if it didn't come through," he said.

First Published: Sep 22, 2003 12:48 IST