Lankan board in dilemma over sending team to Pakistan in 2011
Karachi: The Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) will certainly face the dilemma of whether to tour Pakistan as mentioned in the ICC`s Futures Tours Programmes (FTP) or request the series to be held at a neutral venue.
Sources in the PCB confirmed on Sunday that in 2011, Pakistan were scheduled to host Sri Lanka for a full series.
"The tour is important for us but obviously keeping in mind the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team last year, we have serious doubts that they will agree to play in Pakistan, one source said.
The entire cricket world and Pakistan cricket was shaken when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March, 2009 in which six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed and several visiting players sustained injuries leading to foreign teams refusing to play in Pakistan.
Since then Pakistan have played all their `home` series either in the UAE, New Zealand or like this summer in England against Australia.
But the catch is that before the Sri Lanka`s scheduled tour in October-November, the Pakistan board is likely to go on a short tour of Zimbabwe and the ICC task force on Pakistan cricket also being successful in raising a World XI team to play some games in Pakistan next year.
"If the task force is able to send a World XI and if Zimbabwe also come then obviously it will be a difficult decision for the SLC authorities and their players although they have always been very supportive of Pakistan cricket," the source added.
The series against Sri Lanka is the leading assignment for the Pakistan team next year after the 2011 World Cup.
"After the World Cup, the team goes to the West Indies in April-May and then we are scheduled to tour Zimbabwe for a triangular competition or a bilateral series. It is after the Zimbabwe series that we are supposed to host the Sri Lankans," the source said.
Pakistan is also under pressure from the ICC to play its role in scheduling a home series against Afghanistan.
"The PCB has been told by the ICC to give Afghanistan some matches next year but so far no concrete schedule has been drawn up in this regard as Pakistan is still planning for the next few months," the source said.
The Afghanistan cricket body chief executive, Hamid Shinwari said he would soon be sending a fresh letter to the PCB asking them to schedule a series of matches against the Afghanistan team in Pakistan.
"Let us see how they respond because we have been keen to play in Pakistan since last year but got no response from the PCB."