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'SA tour will clear misconception about Pak'

A top Pakistan Cricket Board official said Monday he hopes the South African cricket team's tour will ease concerns about security in Pakistan.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2003 21:08 IST

A top Pakistan Cricket Board official said Monday he hopes the South African cricket team's tour will ease concerns about security in Pakistan.

"President of Pakistan (Pervez Musharraf) has made it clear that it's a high-profile series and a chance for us to clear the misconception about Pakistan," Ramiz Raja, the board's chief executive, told The Associated Press.

The South Africans are to arrive in the nothern city of Lahore early Tuesday, and Raja promised foolproof security. "Elite police forces will be deployed for the security of the South Africans," he said.

"We will be providing them security normally reserved for the heads of state, but at the same time, we will ensure that fans- looking forward to the series- can enjoy the matches without any hassles."

The United Cricket Board of South Africa reversed a decision to call off the tour, made after a bomb exploded Sept. 19 in an empty building in the southern port city of Karachi.

The South African board agreed to play five one-day internationals and two test matches in Punjab province at Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi after both Karachi and Peshawar were scratched from the itinerary.

Raja said the Pakistan board would raise the issue of venues at next month's International Cricket Council's executive board meeting in the West Indies.

"The only point which I want to clear is that when we have no objection on playing at any venue abroad, the visiting teams should also have no objection on playing at a certain venue in Pakistan," Raja said. "When the government of Pakistan gives security assurance, they should have no objection."

Raja also complimented the Indian and Sri Lankan cricket organizations for backing Pakistan's stance on hosting the series. "The Asian bloc has supported us throughout the last 10 days," he said.

"Even (Thilanga) Sumpathipala (president of Sri Lanka Cricket) talked to the UCB officials in South Africa and pursuaded them to tour Pakistan."

First Published: Sep 29, 2003 20:58 IST