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Pakistan invite Sri Lanka to step in after India pullout

December 18, 2008 20:05 IST

Pakistan have invited Sri Lanka to tour next month as replacements for India, who pulled out on Thursday following the terror attacks in Mumbai in November.

A senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said an invitation has already been sent to Sri Lanka to play three Tests, three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match in January and February.

"It [India's withdrawal] is disappointing for us but we were expecting this," PCB chief operating officer Salim Altaf told reporters in Lahore.

"We still maintain sport should not be mixed with politics. We believe cricket can help improve relations between the two nations.

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"Pakistan has gone without Test cricket for more then a year now and we are desperate to have international cricket at home. The Sri Lankan board should hopefully accept our invitation."

India called off the tour after the government refused permission following last month's attacks in Mumbai which killed at least 179 people.

"They [the Indian Cricket board] have said they can't play the series in the existing conditions and that when things improve they will discuss it further," Altaf said.

India were due to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 game.

Earlier, PCB officials said the board stood to lose about US $20 million if the tour was cancelled.

Former captain Rashid Latif said Pakistan should seriously consider cutting off cricketing ties with neighbours India.

"Our team went to India in 1999 when conditions were worse and there were threats to the players from extremist elements who even dug up pitches at match venues," said Latif.

"The Indians need to show more responsibility."

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