Sri Lanka offers to host Asia Cup if Pakistan opt out
Defending champions Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Oman are due to take part in the tournament, the continent's premier one-day event.cricket Updated: Jan 24, 2008 19:34 IST
Sri Lanka has approached Pakistan with an offer to host the upcoming Asia Cup cricket tournament as violence continues to wrack the country, the island's cricket chief said on Thursday.
The six-nation limited-overs tournament is scheduled to be played in Pakistan in June, but instability following last month's murder of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has put sporting fixtures under threat.
"We have written and asked Pakistan if we can host the Asia Cup," Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Arjuna Ranatunga told AFP on the sidelines of a news conference to promote tourism.
"It's a sensitive issue, but we will understand if Pakistan refuse us," said Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 World Cup.
Defending champions Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Oman are due to take part in the tournament, the continent's premier one-day event.
He also said Sri Lanka was willing to host the upcoming Test series between Australia and Pakistan if no agreement was reached on the venues.
Pakistan this week ruled out moving the March-April series to a neutral venue, despite security concerns voiced by some Australian players following a wave of suicide bombings and riots since Bhutto's death.
"If both sides agree to a neutral venue, I hope they will play here," said Ranatunga. "It will be nice to have them over. It will be a good boost for the game and for tourism."
When Australia refused to tour Pakistan in 2002, the series was played in Colombo and in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.