London: Rattled by the match-fixing allegations against Pakistani cricketers, the South African team is reportedly reluctant to play against them in a series in Abu Dhabi and Dubai next month.
According to a newspaper report, senior South African cricketers are considering making themselves unavailable for the series. The Proteas are due to play five ODIs, three Tests a couple of Twenty20s against Pakistan next month.
"To say we are reluctant is an understatement," one senior player told the newspaper.
"Nobody knows what the hell is going in Pakistani cricket and we feel that playing such a high profile series right now - especially in the middle east - is asking for trouble.”
"Maybe it`s time for the ICC to step in, or for Pakistan to withdraw from the international game for a year until the mess can be cleaned up and people can start to believe in the game and develop a bit of trust," the player said.
The South African Cricketers Association chief executive Tony Irish also conceded that "many players" have reservations but didn`t say whether there had been talk of pullouts.
"The fact that there are now further incidents under investigation is not good news. This all needs to be dealt with urgently in order to ensure that a heavy cloud of suspicion and doubt doesn`t hang over our series against Pakistan," Irish said.
Asked whether senior players were considering not participating in the tour, Irish said: "Let`s hope it doesn`t come to that."
Pakistan have been rocked by a series of corruption allegations, the latest of which came yesterday when the ICC launched an investigation into the team`s third ODI against England after a tip-off from a British tabloid revealed suspicious scoring patterns in the match.