Ten Sports loses out as SA cancels Pakistan tour

MUMBAI: Ten Sports, which holds the broadcast rights for international cricket in Pakistan, was left holding the can yet again after South Africa called off their tour of Pakistan on the eve of their scheduled departure citing safety worries.

South Africa has offered either to host the series, play at a neutral venue or postpone it to a later date. The South African squad was scheduled to leave Johannesburg on Sunday for a five-week trip that included three one-day internationals and three Tests.

A bomb blast in Karachi yesterday, however, led the United Cricket Board (UCB) of South Africa to decide security levels had deteriorated.

The latest pullout means no Test playing team (Bangladesh, which is in Pakistan at the moment, does not really qualify) has toured Pakistan since May 2002, which was when New Zealand cut short their tour after a bomb blast outside their Karachi hotel which killed 11 people.

Both the West Indies and Australia have opted to play the Test series in neutral venues because of security fears.

It is increasingly looking as if the resumption of cricketing ties between hostile neighbours, India and Pakistan, holds the only hope for Ten Sports getting any worthwhile equity from the telecast rights it holds for cricket in that country.

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