December 25, 2008 / 12:25 PM / 10 years ago

Jayawardene tells team not to worry about Pakistan tour

DHAKA (Reuters) - Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has asked his players to concentrate on the test series against Bangladesh beginning on Friday rather than worry about the uncertainty surrounding next month’s tour in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka's cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene is seen after his arrival at a hotel after in Dhaka December 18, 2008. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Sri Lanka agreed to step in to tour in Pakistan after India pulled out their tour due to the security concerns.

The chairman of Sri Lankan cricket’s interim committee, former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, confirmed the tour to Pakistan last week but he and his team were fired by the country’s sports minister Gamini Lokuge on Tuesday.

The sports minister said on Wednesday the tour was one of several recent decisions by Ranatunga’s administration that would be urgently reviewed.

“I don’t know exactly what’s happening. But we have told the guys to just focus the job in hand. It’s very important for us and we will concentrate on this,” Jayawardene told at a news conference in Dhaka on Thursday.

“Whatever they come up with later on, we will have a dialogue with the board. If the tour is on we will go ahead, if it’s not on, we won’t go.

“I mean that up to the administration to make the decision. As cricketers we are here to play cricket. So we will just focus on that,” added the 31-year old middle-order batsman.

Jayawardene shunned questions on whether he has any security concerns over touring Pakistan.

Pakistan have not played a test in more than a year, with opponents declining invitations or pulling out due to security fears after a series of suicide bombings in the country.

Pakistan officials hope to convince Sri Lanka in talks at the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur to proceed with the tour amid concerns it will be scrapped by the new administrators.

Sri Lanka is scheduled to play two tests against Bangladesh and a tri-nation one-day tournament involving the hosts and Zimbabwe.

The second test will be held at Chittagong from January 3-7. The tri-nation tournament is scheduled from January 10 to 16.

Reporting by Azad Majumder, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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