England refuse to play Test in Karachi
by AFP

Ground:Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan, Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, National Stadium, Karachi
Event:England in Pakistan 2005/06

DateLine: 5th July 2005


England have refused to play a Test in the troubled Pakistani city of Karachi during their upcoming winter tour, a senior Pakistani cricket official said.


The tourists will play one one-day international in the southern city, which has a history of religious violence, and will decide in 10 days' time whether to play a second there, Pakistan Cricket Board official Saleem Altaf said on Tuesday.


"England have refused to play a five-day Test in Karachi," during their tour from October 25 to December 22, Altaf told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore.


The three Tests scheduled for the tour will now take place in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan, he said. The northwestern border city of Peshawar has already been ruled out due to its close proximity to Afghanistan.


Lahore will also stage two one-day internationals. If England play only one limited overs match in Karachi then Rawalpindi will stage two.


"They have agreed to play one limited overs international in Karachi, but when we pressed for two back-to-back matches in Karachi, they said they will decide in the next 10 days," Altaf said.


"They will go by what their security experts and the high commission in Islamabad told them."


Two security experts from a private British company have spent the last week assessing security at various grounds in Pakistan, focusing on Karachi.


The England and Wales Cricket Board's cricket operations manager John Carr and Players Association representative Richard Bevan arrived in Pakistan on Sunday and have been briefed by the British High Commission and PCB officials.


Carr and Bevan will deliver a full report to the ECB chief executive and chairman on their return to Britain later this week, the ECB said in a statement.


"In the meantime, discussions will continue with the Pakistan Cricket Board over the proposed match venues and the ECB will be making no further comment at this stage," it said.


Karachi has been rocked by a series of deadly shootings as well as a suicide bombing at a mosque and the burning down of a KFC restaurant in recent months.


In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, foreign cricket teams like Australia and the West Indies have refused to play in Pakistan because of security fears.


Karachi has been rejected as a Test venue by South Africa and India since a bomb blast outside the New Zealand's team hotel in May 2002 killed 14 people including 11 French naval engineers.


The tour will be England's first since 2000 when Nasser Hussain's team won their first series in Pakistan for 39 years. England won a Test in Karachi on that tour.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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