Blast setback for Karachi cricket fans

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The latest blast in Karachi adds to a rather checkered history marked by terrorist attacks which have made it highly unpopular with visiting teams.

Updated: October 22, 2007 18:17 IST
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Karachi is Pakistan's biggest city, it's also home to some of Pakistan's most ardent cricket fans, who witnessed South Africa beating Pakistan in the first test of the series earlier this month.

Unfortunately the latest blast in the city adds to a rather checkered history marked by terrorist attacks and bomb blasts which have made it highly unpopular with visiting nations.

The hesitation to tour Pakistan began Post the 9 /11 blasts in the US, with player security being the major concern.

Karachi was top on the black list after two teams New Zealand and then South Africa cut short their tours following bomb blasts in 2002, right outside the Kiwi players hotel, and then in 2003 when the visiting Proteas returned home early.

Pakistan was then forced to play two home series against Australia and the West Indies in Sharjah.

As a result between December 2001 and 2006 only two tests were played at the National stadium in Karachi and from 2001-2004 it hosted just two one day matches. However, in the last two years things had just begun to normalise.

What is sad is that it is not just cricket that has been affected by the security situation. Earlier this year, the Champions trophy was taken away from Pakistan who were meant to host the event after top teams like Australia and Spain announced their decision to pull out.

The latest blast with its death toll heading for the 150 mark has been a huge blow for the nation and will undoubtedly have a severe impact on sport as well.

Although South Africa have agreed to stay on and complete the tour, future visitors might once again be very finicky about playing in Pakistan.

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