ibnlive » Sports

Aug 17, 2006 at 03:55pm IST

Pull out raises questions in plenty

Colombo: The impact of the blast in Colombo was felt thousands of miles away in Johannesburg.

The South African cricket team, rattled by the second blast in close vicinity in less than a month felt they were in no position to carry on playing.

An independent enquiry also concluded that the current risk to the team was at an unacceptable level. The South African cricket board decided to bring their team back home.

Pshepo Tsotsotso, Media Manager of the South African team, says: "We have no option but to bring the team home as soon as possible. The independent report comes to the same conclusion as that of our own security consultant’s report."

The decision was taken after consultations with the ICC and Sri Lankan Cricket. Withdrawing from the tri-series meant facing penalties of upto US$3 million.

Steve Elworthy, Spokesperson of Cricket South Africa, says: "There are implications in terms of fines if certain protocols are not followed. We certainly have to ensure that we follow all those protocols, before we release any formal statement from our side."

India on the other hand continued to back the Sri Lankan board. They have now agreed to play a three match One-Day series instead with the matches scheduled for August 18, 20 and 22.

Niranjan Shah, Secretary of the BCCI, says: "There is a possibility that we may play three One-Day matches."

So the tri-series is over but larger questions remain. Will the cricket world be split down the middle again between the Asian bloc and the rest?

Will South Africa have to pay hefty penalties for their actions? And of course, the big question, where does this leave cricket in the emerad isle?

(With inputs from Rudraneil Sengupta)