Playing at neutral venues an option January 14, 2007

South Africa likely to tour Sri Lanka later this year

Following the bomb blast in Colombo the South African team refused to stir out of their heavily guarded team hotel before eventually deciding to abandon the tri-series © Getty Images

South Africa are likely to visit Sri Lanka later this year to make up for abandoning the tri-series (Unitech Cup) with India and Sri Lanka in August last year. South Africa decided not to go ahead with the Unitech Cup after a bomb went off next to their hotel in Colombo shortly before their match against Sri Lanka.

Jayantha Dharmadasa, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president, said he had spoken to Gerald Majola, the South African Cricket president, and that South Africa were willing to come and play in Sri Lanka. "Maybe some of the senior players may not come," said Dharmadasa. "Upto now the signs are good."

SLC sources said that if South Africa fails to fulfill their obligations to Sri Lanka during the course of the year they will face fines by the ICC amounting to US$ 150,000 per match. South Africa were due to play a minimum of four matches (five if they qualified for the final) in the cancelled tri-series.

If worse comes to the worst South Africa may even opt to play the series with Sri Lanka at a neutral venue probably Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. Dharmadasa said that India has given their approval to come to Sri Lanka in June and play in the cancelled tri-series after they host the Afro-Asia Cup in Chennai from June 6 to 10.

"It all depends whether South Africa is also free at that time. Whether we will play a tri-series or a bi-series depends on the availability of both teams," said Dharmadasa "Otherwise it will be two separate series." He also did not rule out a tri-series with India and Pakistan.

Sri Lanka are set to tour India for a four-match one-day series from February 10 to 17.