Security concerns for South Africa on Pakistan tour

JOHANNESBURG, Sep 26 (Reuters) South Africa captain Graeme Smith said security concerns on the team's tour of Pakistan would mean his men would have to get used to spending much of their time restricted to hotels.

''I've heard something like 6,000 troops are on standby for us and I think we're going to be pretty much confined to our hotels,'' Smith told reporters before the team's departure yesterday.

''It is a big challenge being stuck in a hotel all the time because you have nothing to take your mind off the cricket and it's easy to slip into boredom, get lackadaisical and lose that drive.'' Smith said his team were going to Pakistan feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation for the challenges ahead.

The South Africans start their tour with a three-day warm-up match against a Patron's XI in Karachi on Thursday. They then play Pakistan in two tests and five one-day internationals.

''Playing a sub-continental team on their home grounds is always a massive challenge,'' Smith said.

''Your patience levels have to be very high and the guys will have to adapt to the lifestyle changes and the amount of security that will be around us.'' GREAT OPPORTUNITY Smith, however, said he was very excited about the tour, 3which starts a busy 18 months for South Africa, who will also visit India, Australia and England.

''We haven't won on the sub-continent for a while, so this is a great opportunity and an exciting tour. In the next year and a half we have some wonderful tours coming up and I would love to win in Pakistan as much as in England or Australia,'' he said.

''We will be introducing some new players and there are several young bowlers who are touring the sub-continent for the first time.

''(Spinner) Paul Harris will have his first real go overseas and (paceman) Morne Morkel is an awesome prospect.'' Smith said he was not sure what to expect from Pakistan, who lost the Twenty20 World Cup final against India here on Monday.

''It will also be a challenge for them to adapt to test cricket again and a lack of experience can be hidden in the Twenty20.

''No one knows what's happening with Mohammad Yousuf and, with Abdul Razzaq gone, will they play the extra all-rounder? Maybe there'll be one or two guys we don't know.'' REUTERS BJR RK1045

Story first published: Wednesday, September 26, 2007, 12:23 [IST]
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