PCB hopeful of Lanka tour despite SLC dissolution

The PCB remains hopeful of hosting Sri Lanka for a Test and ODI series next year despite the dissolution of Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee.

updated: December 24, 2008 11:38 IST
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The Pakistan Cricket Board remains hopeful of hosting Sri Lanka for a Test and ODI series next year despite the dissolution of Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee, headed by Arjuna Ranatunga.

Ranatunga was sacked and the committee dissolved by Sri Lanka sports minister Gamini Lokuge putting the cricket team's unscheduled tour of Pakistan into doubt as it was approved by the former World Cup winning captain.

"We are not going to panic. It is their internal matter and we will discuss the tour when we go for the executive council meeting of the Asian Cricket Council in Kuala Lumpur later this week," PCB Chief Operating Officer Saleem Altaf said.

Altaf said a new interim committee was expected to be announced in Sri Lanka in a week's time but before that discussions would be held in Kuala Lumpur.

"Ranatunga had confirmed the tour and we badly need to play some international cricket and I think all the cricket playing nations are duty bound to help and support us where possible," he said.

Altaf said the PCB was not concerned with reports emanating from Sri Lanka and India about Lokuge planning to call off the tour to Pakistan.

"We will officially discuss things at the ACC meeting. The tour has been committed to us and we are confident it will be held as planned," Altaf said.

Many people belonging to the Pakistan cricket fraternity including former Test players believe there is a lobby working against the country's cricket.

"Our board says India has been very supportive but I don't see that support anywhere. It is as if the Indians are following the strategy of their government to isolate Pakistan even as a cricket nation and venue," former captain Rashid Latif said.

He pointed out that the timing of Ranatunga's sacking just one day after he confirmed the tour to Pakistan was strange.

Latif said the manner in which the ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat's statement was twisted to give his words an anti-Pakistan bias clearly indicated there was a lobby out to isolate Pakistan cricket.

Altaf said if the board felt necessary it would even ask the government to convince its Sri Lankan counterpart to give its team the go ahead to tour Pakistan.

He also said Lorgat had called up PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt on Tuesday and clarified his remarks attributed to him in the media.

"He made it clear that the ICC fully supported Pakistan's efforts to host Sri Lanka," Altaf said.