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October 4, 2008
The West Indies women's tour of Pakistan has been called off because of security concerns. The series had been scheduled from October 14 to 31 with the teams slated to play five one-dayers and three Twenty20s. The Sri Lanka leg of the tour, however, will go ahead as scheduled.
"The West Indies board has sent us official intimation that their women's team is not coming to Pakistan because they have reservations over their players' safety in view the existing security situation in Pakistan," a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said.
"The decision of cancellation would be the mutual, however, the PCB have got nothing official from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) over calling off their tour," said PCB spokesman, Mansoor Suhail.
Pakistan women's captain Urooj Mumtaz said the postponement was "very sad" for all the team members. "We are to play two world events next year -- the Women's World Cup in Australia in March and the Twenty20 World Championship in England in June -- and we desperately needed some good foreign team exposure before that. The West Indies visit was an answer to the problem and we are really very disappointed that the WICB changed its mind about sending the team here."
Team coach Umer Rashid echoed a similar sentiment: "The girls are disappointed, naturally. They have been working hard in preparation for next year's mega events and were keen to play against the West Indies. The series was part of our five-month preparation programme which would help overcome the weaknesses encountered by the team during the Asia Cup in May. Anyway, the situation has to be tackled somehow if we remain consistent."
WICB chief executive Donald Peters had earlier expressed his concerns over the women's team's safety in Pakistan.
The PCB had also invited the West Indies men's team to Pakistan for a two-Test series, immediately after the countries play a one-day series in Abu Dhabi in November. However, the WICB is yet to make a final decision. Senior players were Pakistan, and Peters had said a young squad might be sent.
Nine months ago, the ICC had switched the women's World Cup qualifiers from Pakistan to South Africa. Pakistan haven't hosted a women's ODI since the Asia Cup in 2005-06.
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