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Sri Lanka in running to host Pakistan-England series

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

May 10, 2011

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

James Anderson and Shahid Afridi exchange words during Pakistan's innings, England v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Lord's, September 20, 2010
England and Pakistan could face-off in Sri Lanka early next year © Getty Images
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Sri Lanka is in the running to host the England-Pakistan Test and one-day series scheduled for early 2012, with continuing security concerns preventing England from travelling to Pakistan. Sri Lanka Cricket's secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said he was "very positive" about Sri Lanka being handed the hosting rights, though the PCB said it has yet to make a decision.

"We're working on several options for [hosting] that series, and UAE and Sri Lanka are a couple of them," Subhan Ahmed, the PCB's chief operating officer, told ESPNcricinfo. "Nothing is confirmed just yet."

Ranatunga said Sri Lanka was an ideal venue as it was a favoured destination of both English and Pakistan fans. "I have spoken to the cricket boards of both England and Pakistan and they have been very positive about playing the series in Sri Lanka," he said. "Pakistan chose Sri Lanka to play all their group matches of the 2011 World Cup and they had a lot of crowd support.

"England are also keen to play in Sri Lanka as their supporters, including the Barmy Army, have enjoyed previous tours here with the England teams."

The financial aspect will also come into play in any final decision. SLC is reportedly in debt after the World Cup and any potential series will help alleviate that situation. "The series would also generate income for the Cricket Board and also improve our tourist industry," Ranatunga said.

For Pakistan, Sri Lanka may provide a cheaper option for logistical costs than the UAE, where they have been holding most of their "home" internationals. Last October they hosted South Africa for a full tour and it is believed they are keen to look at other options given the higher costs the UAE incurs.

It would also make more sense for England to play the three-Test, five-ODI series in Sri Lanka instead of the UAE, as they are due to tour Sri Lanka soon after, from early March to April 2012.

Sri Lanka are also scheduled to play a Test and ODI series against Pakistan this October, and that series is almost certain to be held in Sri Lanka, Ranatunga said. "We have put forward our proposal to the PCB and are awaiting a response from them. I am quite certain they would want to play the series in Sri Lanka."

Sri Lanka were the last international team to play in Pakistan, in early 2009, with the second Test being called off midway after the Sri Lankan team bus was shot at in Lahore. The incident led to the ICC dropping Pakistan as one of the four countries co-hosting the 2011 World Cup, and Pakistan have been using Abu Dhabi and Dubai as neutral venues for their matches since.

Sri Lanka previously hosted a neutral Test between Pakistan and Australia in Colombo in October 2002, after Australia cited security concerns over travelling to Pakistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks and the ensuing war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

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Posted by tahi_hq on (May 13, 2011, 9:48 GMT)

Srilanka is okay but ii think Sharjah cricket ground would be the ideal venue for Pakistan......

Posted by first_slip on (May 13, 2011, 8:09 GMT)

@KiwiRocker, i am big fan of yours for long time mate, keep up your good work, i will support you much as i can buddy..good luck...KiwiRocker rules....

Posted by   on (May 13, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

welcome to SL ... pakistan team and fans..we always support u guys

Posted by CricSare on (May 12, 2011, 16:50 GMT)

SL is the second home for the Pakistani cricketers.We warmly welcome you and wanna see Pak beating Eng easily ~~~

Posted by   on (May 11, 2011, 21:05 GMT)

Thank you so much Sri Lanka!! Its really nice to know we have some friends who care about us!

Posted by Thivagar93 on (May 11, 2011, 19:53 GMT)

Well Sri lanka is currently in Rs.4 billion debt.......this will defiently help SL board. Pakistan has 150 Million people and England is a wealthy nation, so advertisement will bring lot of money in. Only time SLCB makes money is when India comes here...its a advantage for Pak and SL

Posted by mrgupta on (May 11, 2011, 18:43 GMT)

@johnathonjosephs: Nobody is stopping you from dreaming, you can dream all you want. For this to become big and shut the IPL the SL economy needs to multiply several times from its current size in next one year. Its the not only the public interest which earns money, its the booming economy which earns you money and attracts big players. I hope it grows big, but to imagine it to outgrow IPL in an year can only happen in your dreams or maybe in a Video game.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (May 11, 2011, 15:11 GMT)

Kiwirocker explains the political side of this move excellently.... I salute Lanka for being the first country (other than England) to actually try to openly challenge the BCCI.... BCCI seems that they have accepted this tournament (probably laughing, thinking it will not be a success) will get very interesting if the tournament gets famous and gets highly televised and the BCCI tries to shut it down next year (would be amazing if India gets more tv subscriptions to this than their own India/England series)

Posted by   on (May 11, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

THank uuu Srilankans.............. We Pakistan love you from the core of the heart that u r supporting us in these difficult times!!!!

Posted by   on (May 11, 2011, 13:35 GMT)

Sri lankan soil suites Pakistan caz its good for spinners and have something to offer to those who likes to bend back or keep it nice and simple, While Bangladesh have flat tracks or that stay low and slow which isnt ideal for any format of game except if you have 5 spinners to bowl like Bangladesh and India no way they dont desrve hosting Pakistans home series as they never liked Pakistan progressing (no offense) so Sri Lanka remains the best option.

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