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Sri Lanka to tour Pakistan after India pull out

December 19, 2008 12:40 IST

Sri Lankan cricket authorities have confirmed their tour to Pakistan in January and February, a Pakistan Cricket Board official told Reuters on Friday.

Pakistan had invited Sri Lanka to play three Tests, three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 game after the Indian government refused to permit its team to undertake their Test tour of Pakistan from next month.

India called off the tour on Thursday amid simmering tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours over the terror attacks in Mumbai in November.

"Sri Lanka has agreed in principle to tour for the series. We are now working out the final details... of the tour with them," Saleem Altaf, the chief operating officer of the Pakistan cricket Board said.

Altaf said the president of the Sri Lankan board, Arjuna Ranatunga, had sent his consent for the tour after Pakistan invited them for the unscheduled series.

"Sri Lanka will travel to Pakistan straight from Bangladesh where their tour ends in the third week of January," Altaf said.

He said Sri Lanka would start off with a Twenty20 game and one-dayer in Karachi and then play two one-dayers and a Test in Lahore.


"The second Test would be in Lahore and the final one in Karachi," he added.

Pakistan is hoping to generate much needed revenues from the Sri Lanka series after they suffered a setback due to the cancellation of the Indian team's tour and have not played a Test since December 2007.

"Obviously the cancellation of the Indian series is a setback especially in financial terms," Altaf said.

Pakistan is expected to lose out on estimated revenues of around $20 million from the cancellation of the Indian series.

The PCB official said the board would soon be holding a meeting to take some policy decisions on the participation of Pakistani players in the Twenty20 leagues in India.

"It is something we need to look at because of the existing relations between the two countries and the fact that India has decided not to have cricket ties with us at the moment," he added.

Around 30 Pakistani cricketers, many of them members of the current national side, are signed up to play for the official Indian Premier League and the rebel Indian Cricket League.

Improving ties between the two neighbours suddenly dipped when India blamed Islamist militants based in Pakistan for the attacks in Mumbai which killed at least 179 people.

Political tensions have forced the cancellation of previous series between the neighbours.

In 2004, India toured Pakistan for a full series for the first time in almost 15 years following a thaw in tensions.

The Indians went on to clinch their first Test-series win on Pakistan soil.

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