South Africa reassured by increased security
South Africa have been given sufficient reassurances about security to be "comfortable" to remain in England following the terrorist attack in Manchester, according to team manager Mohammed Moosajee. Following the bombing at the Manchester Arena on Monday night, Moosajee admitted there were some concerns - especially because the team's three-month tour ends with a Test in the city, where they are due to stay at a hotel close to the Manchester Arena - but he confirmed they are satisfied with the guarantees they have been given.
"The players are uneasy," Moosajee said. "There was a lot of chatter at the breakfast table and I'm happy to say we've had constant communication from the ECB and the security manager. There have been some reassurances and guarantees put in place that the security arrangements will be supplemented, starting today. We've been told there will be more visible policing at the stadiums, at practice sessions as well as the hotels that we will reside at.
"The hotel we will stay at when we are in Manchester for the last Test match is walking distance away from where the events unfolded so there have been some genuine concerns and I think the process has started to make sure the players are reassured that arrangements are being made to try and keep them safe."
Among the measures is the provision of a full-time security liaison officer, who the ECB has provided and who will remain with the South Africa squad for the entire duration of the tour. South Africa also have their own security team traveling with them. "Most teams travel with their own security team," Moosajee said. "There are guys that travel ahead and do their own recces and intelligence. We are comfortable with the advice we get from our security team."
The ICC has already put out a statement about security ahead of the Champions Trophy, which will be held in London, Birmingham and Cardiff from June 1-18, following the ODI series between England and South Africa.
"We're planning for all eight teams to be here," said Steve Elworthy, the tournament director. "David Richardson [ICC chief executive] has been in contact with and has been emailing all the teams participating. There is certainly a communication channel open around this and that dialogue continues as we speak. It's critical and paramount that we deliver a safe, impressive and exciting tournament for everybody involved."
Moosajee said the information South Africa received from their own intelligence, as well as that of the ICC and the ECB, meant they never entertained the thought of going home early, although they will continue to monitor developments.
"If this had happened in another country in the world, that would be the first question people would ask: is the tournament at risk, is the series at risk? As long as people are feeding us the correct information and we trust our advisors - then as things stand, there was no mention of us even thinking of abandoning the tour. If the intelligence information provided tells us something else then obviously we will have to reconsider."
Along with condemning the attack as "abhorrent and despicable", Moosajee also said the South Africa squad wanted to take a stand by not being intimidated in the aftermath of the incident. "I don't think that as sportspeople, we should allow ourselves to be held ransom because otherwise you won't have world events and you won't have touring teams," he said. "We've just got to make sure that we trust the system and we trust the people put in place to give us the necessary advice and reassurances."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent