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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sri Lanka may pull out of Pakistan tour

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) efforts to convince teams to tour the country seemed to have received a setback following a discouraging response from the International Cricket Council (ICC) over Sri Lanka touring Pakistan later this year.
According to the ICC’s Future Tour Programme (FTP), Sri Lanka are due to tour in October but the board’s chairman DS de Silva threw the ball in the ICC’s court saying it will follow directives by the governing body on touring Pakistan.
However, the PCB, itching to get a positive response, has not received a positive response from the ICC yet.
“The ICC’s response on the matter is not encouraging,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune. “Although they haven’t given us a straight no, it’s officials seem reluctant to give their go-ahead for the series when we contacted them.”
Sri Lanka left midway through their last tour of Pakistan in March 2009 after an attack on their team bus left at least eight people dead while injuring several others, including players and team officials. In the aftermath, all tours to Pakistan were cancelled and the country was removed as co-hosts of the ongoing World Cup besides failing to earn rights to any major ICC event until 2015.
“The ICC is still not convinced about the security situation in Pakistan so it seems difficult that they’d give their approval. The PCB may then be forced to host the series at a neutral venue.”
The official, however, said the PCB will keep fingers crossed and will continue its effort to host the series.
“We haven’t given up and will keep on hoping and trying to convince them. We’ll also raise the matter in the ICC meeting next month.”
The PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt, who is expected to leave for India before the World Cup semi-finals, will attend that meeting scheduled to start in Mumbai on the day of the final. The chairman will be accompanied by the board’s chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed in the meeting where they are also expected to meet their Indian counterparts for talks of a bilateral series.
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