Lanka's tour of Pakistan unlikely: Sources

Sri Lanka is unlikely to tour Pak following their pro-India policy, with authorities reconsidering the decision of Arjuna Ranatunga.

updated: December 24, 2008 15:26 IST
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Sri Lanka is unlikely to tour Pak following their pro-India policy, with authorities reconsidering the decision of Arjuna Ranatunga.

"We follow a pro-India policy. We know the circumstances in which the Indian tour to Pakistan was called off. The tour (of Sri Lanka to Pakistan) is unlikely," top sources said.

When contacted, Sri Lankan Sports and Recreation Minister Gamini Lokuge said he would hold discussions with the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the issue.

"We are reconsidering the decisions taken by Arjuna Ranatunga," Lokuge said adding that the Foreign Ministry would also be consulted on the proposed tour.

Ranatunga, who was sacked as the SLC Chairman on Tuesday, had last week confirmed the team's visit to Pakistan after the Bangladesh series.

"We have a duty as a friendly neighbour in the region to help Pakistan when it is needed most," the head of Sri Lanka Cricket, Ranatunga had said.

An SLC official said they agreed to take India's place and ask the hosts to scrap two Twenty20 games and turn them into one-day matches.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had sent an invitation to the Sri Lankans after the Indian government pulled the plug on its cricket team's tour of Pakistan, scheduled to start from January 4.

"Arjuna Ranatunga, the President of Sri Lankan Cricket Board has sent an answer in the affirmative to our invitation. We are now working out the final details of the series," Saleem Altaf, chief operating officer of the PCB, had said after the tour was confirmed by the SLC.

Altaf had last week also said in Karachi that Sri Lanka would be playing three Tests and three one-dayers besides taking on Pakistan in a Twenty20 game.

The Tests would be held in Karachi, Lahore and Multan while the ODIs would be played in the first two places. Karachi will also host the lone Twenty20 encounter.

"They are expected to reach Pakistan straight from Bangladesh where they complete their tour around January 16," Altaf said.

Pakistan has been desperate to play Tests at home as the national team has gone without a series since December last year due to security concerns raised by other nations.

Pakistan also played just 21 one-day Internationals this year, many of them against weak opponents like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Altaf said Sri Lanka's confirmation had come at a very good time as Pakistan needed to revive international cricket activities at home. Pakistan last played a Test match in December last year, against India in Bangalore.

As a sequel to the Mumbai terror attack which killed more than 180 people, Indian government had asked the Board of Cricket Control in India to call off the tour to Pakistan beginning next month.

The PCB said it was set to lose at least $25 million as a result of the cancellation, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Lokuge also said that the proposal to sack 16 employees of the SLC at the end of the year would also be reconsidered.

SLC had proposed terminating the contracts of 16 of its employees at the end of this year, prompting the affected to go to the higher-ups for revocation of the proposal.

They had reportedly decided not to renew the contracts of the 16 employees as they had felt the positions were no longer required at the establishment.