South Africa, Pakistan to play flood fund-raiser
South Africa and Pakistan will play an extra Twenty20 match in Dubai to raise funds for victims of the floods that have devastated Pakistan over the last month.
The match is scheduled to take place before the first Twenty20 between the two sides in Abu Dhabi that kicks off the series of two Tests and five ODIs on October 27. The entire series is being played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai because of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.
"The floods have been a real tragedy and this is our own way of trying to help out the victims in the country," Gerald Majola, CSA's chief executive, told Cricinfo. "It will be an extra game, probably two days before the first T20 that starts the series, and all proceeds will go to victims of the floods."
The match is the first tangible result of the PCB's efforts to raise funds for a natural disaster the UN believes to be among the worst in living memory. Over 1500 deaths have been recorded already and it is estimated nearly 20 million people have been affected after record rainfall in north-western parts of Pakistan. Roughly one-fifth of the country's landmass stands submerged. Though initially sluggish, aid has begun to flow in, with over US$800 million pledged so far.
Other boards have also indicated an interest in helping out. Zimbabwe have already expressed their commitment to tour Pakistan and play in fund-raising games, though details have not been finalised. The West Indies Cricket Board have also offered their assistance, possibly when Pakistan tour the Caribbean next year.
"We feel hurt as we have watched on television and followed on the internet, the magnitude of the destruction and devastation caused to the people of Pakistan, by the recent floods," said Julian Hunte, the West Indies board president. "The WICB and the PCB have had a long and fruitful relationship for many years and we want to assure them than they have our full support in this dark time.
"In an effort to see how best we can assist, the WICB will contact the PCB hierarchy to examine how we can work together," he said. "The Pakistani cricketers are due to visit the West Indies next year for a full tour, under the ICC Future Tours Programme, so this visit will offer an opportunity to assist in a meaningful way."
The PCB is also keen on arranging a game in England during Pakistan's ongoing tour but nothing concrete has emerged yet. Instead, players from England and Pakistan have contributed their match fees to the cause and the sides are also expected to attend several fund-raising dinners.
PCB officials claimed that New Zealand had also offered to visit Pakistan to play a series to help flood victims, but this was swiftly denied by Justin Vaughan, chief executive NZC. Vaughan did express the hope "that cricket could play a part in alleviating some of the suffering that is going on there." Pakistan are scheduled to tour New Zealand at the end of the year, leaving open the possibility of the two boards arranging a game for the cause.