New Delhi:South Africa have said they would not not send their team to take part in the Champions Trophy if it was staged in Pakistan. They have requested the International Cricket Council to reschedule the tournament.
The decision came following the board's meeting with the ICC task team in Johannesburg. CSA (Cricket South Africa) officials met with the ICC task force, which included chief executive Haroon Lorgat, to discuss the security scenario in Pakistan following a spate of recent bombings in the country. The presentation of the task force though failed to convince CSA.
Despite assurances from the ICC task force that security measures would be in place for the eight-nation event, CSA president Norman Arendse said they will not send their team to Pakistan.
"After extensive discussions and a frank exchange of views, the board resolved not to send our team to Pakistan to participate in the ICC Champions Trophy," Arendse said in a statement.
"We respect the right of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to stage the tournament and we would urge the ICC to reschedule the tournament as soon as possible," Arendse said.
The PCB officials, however, are still hopeful of hosting the Champions Trophy, scheduled in September. A final decision whether the biennial event will be held in Pakistan or not will be taken at a teleconference of the ICC board of directors on Sunday.
Arendse will be representing CSA at the ICC Executive Board meeting on Sunday.
South African Cricketers' Association CEO Tony Irish said: "This was a difficult decision but it was the right one. There is nothing more important than the safety of our national team.
"We appreciate all the efforts of the ICC task team, the Pakistan Cricket Board, the Pakistan authorities and the security consultants. The players are naturally disappointed for their fans and the people of Pakistan that they will not have a chance to see them in action in that country in September."
The senior official of the ICC had a meeting at its headquarters in Dubai on Wednesday to discuss the concerns raised by the players from Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa about the security situation in Pakistan.
The Indian Cricket Board, however, has backed the traditional rivals to host the Champions Trophy next month even as many cricket boards are apprehensive of sending their players for the tournament at the violence-hit country.
Pakistan is anxiously waiting to learn if it will host the prestigious event as the ICC Board convenes a teleconference on Sunday to decide the issue.
(With agency inputs)