Sri Lanka wants to host India amid Pakistan tour (Supersedes earlier version)

January 4th, 2009 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 4 (IANS) Sri Lanka Sunday said it was keen to host a somewhat lucrative one-day series against India in between its proposed cricket tour to Pakistan scheduled from Jan 20.Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge told IANS that Sri Lanka had invited India to play five ODI series and “is waiting for a positive reply soon from the Board of Control for Cricket in Indian (BCCI)”.

“We expect to play the series against India in between our Pakistan tour later this month. The Indian tour schedule is yet to be finalised but we are very positive about it,” Lokuge said.

The minister did not explain the logistics of the programme, which would entail Sri Lanka to return home while the Pakistan tour is on, play against the Indians, and then go back to Pakistan to finish the series.

He dismissed reports that the ODI series against India was being hurriedly organised so as to delay finalising the Pakistan itinerary.

“It is we who invited India and our plan to host ODI series against India will not cause any hindrance to our Pakistan tour. The tour to Pakistan is very much on. One will not disturb the other,” he said.

The visit to Pakistan was hastily arranged after India refused to travel to that country following the terror attacks in Mumbai for which New Delhi has held Pakistani terrorists responsible.

The then interim committee of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, later dismissed by the government, accepted the invitation to fill in for India.

But after the government cleared the tour, Indian authorities reportedly expressed displeasure over it. The issue went up to President Mahinda Rajapaksa before being cleared.

After sacking the Ranatunga administration, Minister Lokuge appointed his ministry secretary S. Liyanagama as the competent authority until a fresh interim committee is appointed.

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