South African Cricket Excuses Itself From Playing In Terror-Hit Pakistan; Cites Work-Load Issues

South Africa has indirectly rejected to play in Pakistan as most of the other nations including England, Australia, New Zealand, India remain apprehensive of travelling to Pakistan post the 2009 attack on Sri-Lankan cricket team in Lahore.

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The South Africa cricket board stated – In order to manage the workload of their players, South Africa will not tour Pakistan for a three-match T20I series next month.

The South Africa cricket team, who are currently playing England in a three-match T20 series at home, next host Australia in three T20Is and as many ODIs before travelling to India to play three ODIs from March 12 to 18.

“While we were keenly looking forward to hosting South Africa next month, we respect Cricket South Africa’s reason for not sending their side next month,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement.

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“Managing player workload is a top priority for any board and from that perspective, their decision is understandable. We’re pleased CSA remains committed to rescheduling this short series as soon as practically possible,” the statement added.

Attack On Sri-Lankan Cricket Team

On March 3, 2009, a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team to Lahore’s Qaddafi Stadium for the third day of a test match was targetted by terrorists.

Around 8:50 am, terrorists, rushed through Liberty Chowk, Lahore, with the aim of carrying out a multi-pronged attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team’s convoy. Using RPGs, hand grenades and guns, the attackers took aim at the bus carrying the cricketers.

Seven people were killed — including six policemen — and another 20 injured in the attack. The wounded included seven members of the visiting cricket team.

“For some reason, I moved my head to get a better view and a split second later I felt a bullet fizz past my ear into the vacant seat,” Mahela Jayawardene told ESPNCricinfo after the attack.

The driver of the team’s bus was shot, but in an extraordinary feat of courage somehow managed to drive the team away from the assault to safety.

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As Islamabad work to bring international cricket back to Pakistan, there is a clear understanding that exceptional measures need to be taken to ensure players’ safety. Among the measures recently announced was a presidential-level ‘five-tier’ security plan and ‘box security’ with guards dedicated to each individual’s protection.

Cricket South Africa could send a security delegation to Pakistan to assess arrangements ahead of the tour.