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Sri Lanka likely neutral venue for India-Pakistan cricket series

Sri Lanka has emerged as the likely venue for the much-awaited India-Pakistan bilateral cricket series, with an official announcement likely to be made on November 27.

cricket Updated: Nov 23, 2015 19:18 IST
After PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan met BCCI President Shashank Manohar on November 22, Sri Lanka is likely to be announced as the neutral venue for the India-Pakistan series.
After PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan met BCCI President Shashank Manohar on November 22, Sri Lanka is likely to be announced as the neutral venue for the India-Pakistan series. (AFP Photo)

Sri Lanka has emerged as the likely venue for the much-awaited India-Pakistan bilateral cricket series, with an official announcement likely to be made on November 27.

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made it clear that they will not play in the United Arab Emirates and with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) refusing to play in India, the only feasible option left was the island nation, which will act as the neutral venue.

With only a month’s window available after India finish their Test Series against South Africa on December 7, the series is likely to be confined to three ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals instead of the original two Tests, five ODIs and two T20 Internationals, according to top BCCI sources.

The proceedings had been fast-tracked once BCCI president and current ICC chairman Shashank Manohar met PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and senior official Najam Sethi in Dubai in presence of ECB supremo and chairman of ‘Pakistan Task Force’ Giles Clarke.

Without divulging any details, both Sethi and Khan had said yesterday that the meeting with Manohar was “fruitful” giving an indication that the deadlock on the marquee series was broken.

Read | BCCI chief Manohar meets Shaharyar, discusses Indo-Pak series

“Since PCB will need the permission of Nawaz Sharif before going official, Shaharyar Khan will need to go back to Islamabad and seek the Prime Minister’s permission. Once he gets the green light from the PM, he will again come back to Dubai and intimate his decision to Clarke. Clarke is likely to officially announce the series on November 27,” the source told PTI on Monday.

It has been learnt that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been approached by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and they seem to be keen to host the series.

The two stadiums earmarked for the series are Khettarama (R Premadasa Stadium) and Pallekele (Kandy). While the receding monsoon has hit the island nation badly, the weather forecast for the last part of December looks good.

While some T20 matches are scheduled at the Khettarama, the SLC will reschedule them at the first notice, once the official announcement is made.

This will be the first time that a Test playing nation has rejected playing a series in the UAE since it became Pakistan’s adopted home after the 2009 Lahore attacks.

Read more:

Pakistan says no to cricket series with India, cites security issues

Pak interior minister calls for cricket boycott against India

No question of playing Pakistan’s ‘home’ series in India: PCB chief