ODI switched to Lahore over security fears

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MULTAN, Oct 25 (Reuters) The fifth one-day international between Pakistan and South Africa scheduled for Karachi on Monday has been switched to Lahore because of security fears, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.

Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief executive, said the touring South Africans did not want to play in Karachi following last week's bomb attacks on former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's convoy that killed 139 people.

''The venue has been changed on the request of the South African team management,'' Naghmi told Reuters yesterday.

''Despite all assurances given to them referring to their security concerns they were not comfortable playing in Karachi at the moment.'' The South Africans played a three-day tour match and the first test in Karachi a few weeks ago.

Naghmi said the PCB had accepted the South African request with a heavy heart.

''But the main purpose is this tour should be completed on schedule and the final match is played,'' he added.

The PCB said a South African security officer had gone to Karachi to meet officials but, despite the assurances given to him, felt playing in Karachi was not feasible at the moment.

''We are deeply regret this decision especially for the people of Karachi for having deprived them of this opportunity,'' South African manager Logan Naidoo said in a statement.

''But unfortunately the members of the South African contingent are not comfortable travelling to Karachi.'' A PCB official, who declined to be named, said the board were now worried the Australians might also raise reservations about playing in Karachi when they tour next year.

''All the goodwill and image created of Karachi as a safe international venue could be negated by the South Africans refusal to play the one-dayer in the city,'' the official said.

Karachi has been shunned as an international venue by touring teams in the past for security reasons.

South Africa refused to play any matches in the southern city on their last tour in 2003.

REUTERS BJR BD1330

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