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Old September 23, 2003, 06:56 AM
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Default South Africa tour set to get underway

South Africa's tour of Pakistan is set to get underway on Thursday, after a last-minute deal with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Following Friday night's bomb blast in Karachi, the PCB has agreed to cancel two matches due to be held in Karachi and Peshawar. The new itinerary will comprise three ODIs but just two Tests, one fewer than originally intended.

Confirming the news, PCB officials said the United Cricket Board (UCB) had agreed in principle to the rearrangement, after consultation with South African government, Eric Simons, the coach, and Graeme Smith, the captain. Written approval will be received before the end of the week.

"We made a decision on Saturday, based on information from our security consultants who had also been in contact with intelligence agencies," said Gerald Majola, the chief executive of the UCB. "That information was that the situation in Pakistan, particularly following a bomb blast in Karachi on Friday evening, meant that sending our team to Karachi on Sunday as planned would have constituted an unacceptable risk."

Rameez Raja, chief executive of the Pakistan board, had been eager to allay South Africa's fears. "[There were] misconceptions about Friday's blast," he said. "After talking to our security officials, they got the clear picture that the blast was not linked to terrorism."

Source: Wisden
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