India not happy with Lankan tour to Pak: Report

Sri Lanka agreeing to tour Pakistan has not gone down well with Indian officials, who think Lanka has snubbed the BCCI "as a fallout for IPL issues".

updated: December 29, 2008 18:55 IST
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Sri Lanka agreeing to tour Pakistan next month has not gone down well with Indian cricket officials, who think the island country has snubbed the BCCI "as a fallout of IPL issues", media reports said on Sunday.

The tour, which was arranged after India called off its scheduled visit to Pakistan in the wake of last month's Mumbai terror attacks, will feature three Tests, as many ODIs and a Twenty20 match.

The then Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) interim committee headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, which was later sacked by the government, accepted the invitation by Pakistan to fill in for India.

Reports here also said that Sri Lankan and Pakistan cricket officials had discussions on the security details of the tour on the sidelines of the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Sri Lanka was represented by Sports Secretary S Liyanagama and the High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur. More discussions will be held later.

Sunday Times, quoting SLC sources, reported that the decision by the Ranatunga administration to tour Pakistan "had irked the Indian authorities" and the matter was discussed "at the highest levels in Colombo".

"SLC received clear signals that Indian authorities were unhappy with the move to tour Pakistan when they were having political problems with that country. They said they treated the Sri Lankan move as a snub on the Indians mainly as a fallout of the Indian Premier League (IPL) issue," the newspaper said.

The report added that the Sri Lankan sports authorities were forced to get a security clearance from the foreign ministry for the tour "following a nose-dive in Indo-Pak relations in recent weeks".

According to the report, Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that "Pakistan tour had become a diplomatic issue". Rajapaksa then referred the matter to foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama.

Bogollagama, however, said that there was no "diplomatic pressure on Sri Lanka either by India or Pakistan" and he cleared the tour considering it as a "sporting issue" among South Asian member states.

"If indeed there were security concerns, the matter has to be determined by the International Cricket Council (ICC)," the foreign minister was been quoted as saying.