PCB to invite Sri Lanka if India pulls out: Sources

December 14th, 2008 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Nov 14 (IANS) Pakistani cricket officials are mulling inviting Sri Lanka for Tests and One-day Internationals next month in case India pull out of the home series.Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told IANS that senior Board officials are seriously considering keeping Sri Lanka on stand-by, if India stayed away from Pakistan in the wake of last month’s Mumbai terror attack.

Sri Lanka is the only major Test-playing nation available next month and sources said that Sri Lanka Cricket officials have shown interest in a bilateral series, in case India pulls out of the six-week-long tour scheduled to begin Jan 4. India were to play three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International.

Sources said Sri Lanka will be free of any international commitments after Jan 14 following its home series against Bangladesh and is willing to negotiate financial details of replacement tour of Pakistan to play three Tests and an equal number of one-dayers.

However, top PCB officials have denied that Pakistan is working on such a back-up plan and is still hopeful that India will tour Pakistan.

“The situation was quite tense in 2004 but after some back-channel diplomacy India toured Pakistan for what was quite a memorable series,” said Saleem Altaf, the PCB’s chief operating officer.

Altaf, however, admitted that Pakistan will switch to Plan B in case India scrapped the tour.

“Our boys need some good cricket and we have to make sure they get it,” said Altaf, a former Pakistan Test pacer.

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam agreed.”It’s very important for my players to get some good matches soon which is why I’m hoping that the home series against India takes place according to schedule,” Intikhab said.

Pakistan was left without a single Test in 2008 after Australia refused to visit the country in March-April this year, citing security concerns. Later, the International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the 2008 Champions Trophy which was to take place in Pakistan in September after five of the eight competing teams refused to travel to the violence-hit country.

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