Johannesburg: Cricket South Africa on Sunday denied reports that its players were reluctant to play against Pakistan in the wake of the match-fixing scandal, saying that the series between the two sides in the UAE next month would go ahead as scheduled.
An unnamed South African player was quoted as saying by a London-based newspaper that some of his senior teammates could make themselves unavailable for the series, comprising three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internatioanals, due to the raging match-fixing row surrounding Pakistani cricketers.
But CSA chief executive Gerald Majola said no player has expressed any such reservation so far and there was no plan to scrap the series.
"This is an official bilateral tour governed by the ICC FTP agreement, signed by all member countries, therefore it is an ICC-sanctioned match. The ICC has not cancelled the tour and are dealing with the matter through the ACSU. We therefore have no reason to call off the tour," Majola told a cricket website.
Earlier, a newspaper reported that senior South African cricketers are considering making themselves unavailable for the series in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"To say we are reluctant is an understatement," one senior player was quoted as saying by 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 British tabloid revealed suspicious scoring patterns in the match.