South African team lands in Pakistan
The South African cricket team landed on Tuesday in the eastern city of Lahore amid intense security to begin their 29-day tour of Pakistan.india Updated: Sep 30, 2003 18:48 IST
The South African cricket team landed on Tuesday in the eastern city of Lahore amid intense security to begin their 29-day tour of Pakistan.
The tour had been called off by South African officials because of security fears, but after assurances from the Pakistan Cricket Board and the elimination of Karachi and Peshawar from the itinerary, it was rescheduled.
"I am happy that the South African team has arrived here and hope they have left whatever happened in the last week behind," said South African High Commissioner M. Moolla, who met the team at the airport.
"I look forward to seeing some exciting cricket from this young South African team," Moolla said.
Security was tight at Lahores Allama Iqbal international airport as the 15-member team arrived from Johannesburg via Dubai, with a large contingent of Punjab police's elite commando elite force deployed.
Around 20 police vehicles escorted the bus taking the South African players to their hotel from the airport. Sniffer dogs were used to check the second floor of the hotel where the team is staying, while dozens of police patrolled outside the building.
Led by Graeme Smith, the South Africans will play five one-day internationals and two Tests.
They open the tour with a warm-up one-day match against a Lahore City Mayor XI on October 1 and play the first one-day in Lahore on October 3.
"Around 150 commandos have been deployed to keep tight security around the team in the hotel and on the ground as they are our valued guests," deputy superintendent of police Salim Zia Agha told AFP.
The South Africans are the first Western side to tour Pakistan for 16 months since New Zealand cut short their tour to the country following a suicide bomb blast outside their Karachi hotel in May last year.
Pakistan were forced to play two of their home series on neutral grounds after the West Indies and Australia refused to tour because of security fears last year.
South African team: Graeme Smith (captain), Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Neil McKenzie, Jacques Rudolph, Robin Peterson, Andrew Hall, Alan Dawson, Makhaya Ntini, Charl Langeveldt, Andre Nel, Boeta Dippenaar, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Adams.
Eric Simons (coach), Cassim Docrat (manager)