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Sri Lanka willing to host India ahead of Pakistan tour

By P. Karunakharan, IANS,

Colombo : Sri Lanka Sunday said it was keen to host India for a one-day series ahead of its tour to Pakistan from Jan 20.

Sports minister Gamini Lokuge told IANS Sunday that Sri Lanka has invited India to play a five ODI series and “is waiting for a positive reply from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) soon.”

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

Dismissing reports from various quarters that the ODI series against India was being hurriedly organised as a delaying tactic in finalising the itinerary for the Pakistan tour, Lokuge said that the Pakistan tour would be on.

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

The Pakistan tour was hastily arranged after India refused to go ahead with their scheduled visit following the terror attacks in Mumbai. The then interim committee of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, which was later dismissed by the government, accepted the invitation to fill in for India.

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

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

Commenting on the appointment of a new committee, Lokuge said that he was still working on selecting members for the new interim committee and “it would be named once all these tournaments are finalised”.