Cricket-Pakistan eye Sri Lanka as India tour prospects dim
KARACHI Dec 16 (Reuters) - Pakistan are considering a home series against Sri Lanka if India cancel their test tour in the wake of last month's militant attacks in Mumbai.
A senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said on Tuesday it was still waiting for a final answer from India on the fate of the tour scheduled to start on Jan. 4.
"We still would like India to fulfil their commitment under the future tours programme. Until we don't get a final answer from them we will wait," the board CEO Saleem Altaf told Reuters.
"But we are definitely open to other options and one of them is inviting Sri Lanka for a tour."
Although the Indian board is awaiting government clearance, it looks doubtful whether India would tour or even agree to play at a neutral venue due to strained bilateral ties following last month's attacks.
Sri Lanka Cricket president Arjuna Ranatunga has said his country had no security issues playing in Pakistan if India pulled out.
"There are still 18 days before the scheduled arrival of the Indian team," Altaf said. "But inviting Sri Lanka is definitely an option and we will look into it now."
Sri Lanka are due to tour Bangladesh to play two tests and a tri-series also involving Zimbabwe. However, the tour ends in January and they have no further international commitments until the World Twenty20 to be played in England in June.
"There is definitely a window of opportunity for us but we first have to see what the Indians say," Altaf said.
Pakistan are desperate after going without a test this year following Australia's refusal to tour in April due to security concerns.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the September Champions Trophy in Pakistan until October next year over player safety issues.
The PCB has stepped up domestic games to provide competition for its players who have featured in just 21 one-dayers this year, most of them against the weak Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
(Editing by N.Ananthanarayanan)
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