Sri Lanka on Friday decided to go ahead with its cricket tour of Pakistan to fill in for a cancelled Indian trip, putting an end to the uncertainty on the fate of the series.
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa today discussed the issue with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollgama, who recommended that the tour should proceed as scheduled from January 20 to February 25.
The series, which has been arranged only because India called off its tour in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, will feature three Tests, as many ODIs and a Twenty20 match.
Before giving his nod for the tour, Bogollagama contacted the Minister of Sports and Public Recreation Gamini Lokuge and sought his views.
Lokuge had earlier stated that since the series in Pakistan would be taking place under the aegis of the International Cricket Council, it should be subject to security clearance of the ICC.
With Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in two minds on whether to tour or not, the acting High Commissioner of Pakistan in Colombo Fazal-ur-Rahman Kazi had also spoken to the Foreign Minister on Wednesday on the issue.
The Minister said since SLC had already accepted the invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the tour should proceed as agreed, a Foreign Ministry statement said.
Minister Bogollagama was of the view that sport was an effective means of promoting connectivity between nations and thereby enhancing friendship and mutual goodwill between countries.
Shunned by most visiting teams because of the volatile security situation there, Pakistan were desperate to host some international cricket after India cancelled their tour in the wake of the Mumbai carnage.
The Sports Minister had earlier made it clear that the cricket team would require a clearance from the Foreign Ministry before going ahead with the tour.
"We also need the foreign ministry clearance for the cricket tour to Pakistan and will be discussing the matter soon," Lokuge said.
The Sports Minister discussed the issue with the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who took up the issue with the Foreign Minister today.
The interim committee headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, which was dissolved recently, had accepted the PCB invitation to play a full series in Pakistan.