South Africa in India 2004-05 September 23, 2004

South Africa threaten to cancel tour

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Herschelle Gibbs is not worried about any bowlers that he might face, but the Indian police are a different matter entirely © Getty Images

It is not only Australia who are threatening to cancel their tour to India - South Africa, who are scheduled to hop over for two Tests after the Australian tour is over, have also threatened to pull out. Their reasons are different, though. They are demanding an assurance that Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje will not be prosecuted during the series.

The Indian police once expressed their desire to question Gibbs and Boje about events during South Africa's series there in 2000, which was the fulcrum of the match-fixing scandal that broke shortly after. It is now being rumoured that the South Africans have decided to present a united front by boycotting the tour if their players are not guaranteed indemnity.

Boje confirmed that he would not make the trip if there was any chance that he might be prosecuted or questioned while he was there. "I don't really want to go to India if I'm not 100% convinced that nothing will happen to me," he said. "I want to be guaranteed indemnity from prosecution before I go."

Boje said that while he was not aware of any specific proposal of a boycott, "I believe the guys will stand together. I believe that the United Cricket Board of South Africa will resolve the matter."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the South African board said that it had requested a clarification from KK Paul, who is leading the commission of enquiry into match-fixing in India, but that no reply had yet been received. The spokesperson said, "We want to know where we stand and if the safety of our players will be guaranteed."

Thus, instead of playing two Test series this winter before taking on Bangladesh, there is a slight possibility that India may play none.