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Sri Lanka’s tour to Pakistan in limbo

The Sri Lankan cricket tour of Pakistan seems to have been put on hold pending a decision of the third umpire —in this case the Lankan government, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

cricket Updated: Dec 24, 2008 22:57 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The Sri Lankan cricket tour of Pakistan seems to have been put on hold pending a decision of the third umpire —in this case the Lankan government.

The two cricket boards had come to an understanding on Lanka touring Pakistan in January after India backed out from its Pakistan tour after the Mumbai attacks. But the Sports Ministry on Wednesday raised a finger of doubt on it.

Doubts on the tour did, in fact, surface on Tuesday soon after the Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) interim committee headed by former captain Arjuna Ranatunge was dissolved by the Ministry.

On Wednesday evening, Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge told HT that it was now up to the Sri Lankan government to decide whether it was safe for the cricket team to tour Pakistan under the current security situation.

"We will have to wait for the approval of the government. We have to see whether foreign policy, under such security situation, allows the team to tour Pakistan," Lokuge said.

Lokuge said the aspect of safety of players in Pakistan would need to be closely assessed before any decision was taken.

“We could ask our High Commission there (in Pakistan) to send us a report. Or we could even send a team to assess it. I have also asked the new committee to find out about what is happening there," he said, adding that Leon Gamage has been appointed as the CEO of SLC.

The Sports Minister said that Ranatunge as chairman had held negotiations with Pakistan Cricket Board to send a team .

“But the approval of the interim committee was not taken. He held negotiations on his own. I respect his talks as the chairman but now we want the situation to be assessed,” Gamage said. Gamage said even if Sri Lanka did tour Pakistan, he had no idea when it would be. "I have no idea about the available dates. The cricket board needs to be asked," he said.