ICL: Indian Cricket League

Tour to continue despite bomb blasts


smithSouth Africa’s ODI series against Pakistan will go ahead unchanged despite the twin bomb attacks that rocked Karachi late on Thursday, killing over 130 people and injuring over 500. Karachi is due to host the final ODI on October 29 and it remains on the itinerary after assurances to the South African team of extra security.

The decision came after a meeting between officials from Cricket South Africa (CSA), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), top local security officials and the provincial Punjab government. Zakir Khan, PCB’s director operations, said, “After concern shown by South Africa’s management over the incidents in Karachi, we had a comprehensive security briefing, which included board officials and the Punjab home secretary. After the meeting, it has been decided the tour will go ahead as planned.”

The series moves to Faisalabad and then Multan after tomorrow’s game in Lahore and the tourists have been assured beefed-up levels of security for the remainder of the tour. Logan Naidoo, South Africa’s manager and vice-president CSA, said the offer had come from the home secretary’s office.

“We came here knowing the situation and we knew it wasn’t free movement. That hasn’t changed after the incidents of last night. It’s strange because we didn’t go to the PCB and say we needed more security. In fact, the home secretary said levels of security will be increased by another two levels at the other three venues.”

The tour itinerary, however, remains open to change should the situation in the country change again. “Having met with the PCB chairman and officials and with the home secretary, we are quite satisfied so far that the arrangements that are made are acceptable to the South African team so we will definitely continue with the tour.

“We will be keeping tabs on what’s happening within the country for the rest of the tour and if anything changes we will meet again before making a decision.”

The management offered their sympathies and condolences to the families affected by the blasts and said the players had been disturbed by the deaths.

“It’s not a usual situation for the players and they are more disturbed in terms of the deaths [that] occurred. We will ensure that whatever safety precautions we take for officials we will take for them as well,” Naidoo said. “We wouldn’t be limiting any security measures for them.”

“I have spoken to officials in South Africa and I have told them that we are engaging the PCB and I am thankful to them. We are satisfied with the way the situation has been handled.”

The twin bombs went off at the motorcade for Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan, who returned to the country yesterday after a self-imposed exile of eight years.

Source:Cricket News

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