Sri Lanka's Pak tour hangs in balance

Uncertainty clouded Sri Lanka's proposed tour to Pakistan with the sports establishment weighing the pros and cons of the trip including security aspects.

updated: December 25, 2008 14:56 IST
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Uncertainty clouded Sri Lanka's proposed cricket tour to Pakistan with the sports establishment on Thursday weighing the pros and cons of the trip including security aspects.

Well-placed sources said the fate of the series hangs in balance after the Sports Ministry sacked the interim committee of the Sri Lankan Cricket headed by former Captain Arjuna Ranatunga which had committed to a tour of Pakistan starting January 20.

Stating that it is not inclined to compromise Indias interest, Sri Lanka said it is weighing the pros and cons of sending its cricket team to Pakistan.

"Yes, the cricket tour hangs in balance currently. We are discussing the matter. There is still time", the sources said when asked on the prospects of Sri Lankan Cricket team touring Pakistan after India pulled out of next month's tour following the Mumbai terror attack that killed 179 people.

Sources told PTI that though Sri Lanka wanted to help Pakistan host some international cricket at home soil, it was apprehensive of doing something that might go against India's interest.

"Pakistan is our good friend and has supported us on many occasions. Sri Lanka has also always expressed its solidarity with Pakistan. But decisions also cannot be against Indias interest, the sources said.

When contacted, Sri Lankan Sports minister Gamini Lokuge told PTI that the security clearance was required before giving the go ahead for the tour. "We will be approaching the International Cricket Council for security clearance."

"We also need the foreign ministry clearance for the cricket tour to Pakistan and will be discussing the matter soon, he said. Lokuge also said the tour has not been turned down yet.

Lokuge had earlier said that he would hold discussions with the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the issue.

Last Friday, Ranatunga had confirmed the island cricket team's tour to Pakistan saying the country had a duty as a friendly neighbour to Pakistan when it was needed most.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had sent an invitation to the Sri Lankans after India cancelled its tour of Pakistan following the Mumbai terror attacks.

Pakistan last played a Test match in December last year, against India in Bangalore and according to reports, the PCB could lose about 25 million dollars as a result of the cancellation of the cricket tour by India.

On Wednesday sources in Colombo said they realised the circumstances in which the next months Indian cricket tour to Pakistan was called off and that the proposed tour of the Island Nation to Pakistan was not likely.