SA players concerned over touring Pakistan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> South Africa captain Graeme Smith said his players had 'major concerns' about playing in the Champions Trophy due to the security situation in Pakistan.

Updated: July 30, 2008 16:25 IST
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South Africa captain Graeme Smith said on Friday his players had 'major concerns' about playing in the Champions Trophy due to the security situation in Pakistan, echoing the fears of Australia, England and New Zealand and raising the prospect of boycotts from teams or players.

The International Cricket Council confirmed Pakistan as the host of the September 11-28 tournament on Thursday despite ongoing concerns over security.

But Smith said the situation has worsened in Pakistan since his team visited last October, when a bomb exploded in Karachi soon after they had left for Lahore and a state of emergency was declared only days after the end of the tour.

"From the players' point of view, we do have major concerns with security in Pakistan. A lot has happened in Pakistan, from a security point of view, since we were there and those are things that are worrying us," Smith said.

"Generally, that's a full-player view. I don't know any players who don't have issues with regards to security in Pakistan. Within three days (of us returning home), there was a state of emergency so we have seen how quickly things can develop."

Smith said Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa, and national players union CEO Tony Irish were studying the situation in Pakistan and would make the final decision on whether his team takes part.

"We have people working on that who we trust, Tony Irish from the players' association and Gerald," Smith said. "We are in constant communication with them on how we feel as players. We trust them to make the right decisions."

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