Sri Lanka not to host Pakistan-Australia series

Australia has not toured Pakistan since 1998 and forced their hosts to play in Sri Lanka, the UAE and England AFP

Karachi:May 12, 2012

Sri Lanka has dropped plans to host a limited overs series between Pakistan and Australia in August as it clashes with the island’s Premier League, Pakistani cricket officials said Saturday.

“It’s disappointing,” Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief operating officer, Subhan Ahmed, told AFP.

“Initially the SLC (Sri Lankan Cricket) offered to host the series and we stopped negotiating with others.”

Since Sri Lanka told Pakistan of its decision Friday, Pakistan had started negotiations with other countries about hosting the series, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Malaysia, he said.

“We are looking for other venues to host Australia… and hope to finalise it soon,” said Ahmed.

Pakistan is due to play five one-day and three Twenty20 matches against Australia from mid-August, the dates of which are yet to be finalised.

Pakistan has been a “no go” zone for international teams since March 2009 terrorists attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, which left eight people dead and wounded seven visiting players and their assistant coach.

Pakistan has since had to play its home games in neutral venues such as the UAE, England and New Zealand.

Even before the 2009 attack, foreign teams had refused to tour Pakistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001 that sparked security concerns in and around the country.

Australia has not toured Pakistan since 1998 and forced their hosts to play in Sri Lanka, the UAE and England.

Ahmed said that playing the upcoming series in Sri Lanka after its Premier League was not an option as the country would then be preparing to host the World Twenty20, from September 18 to October 8.

Despite the development, he refused to accept Pakistan was isolated in the cricket world: “I will not accept that Pakistan is isolated, because other countries were willing to host the series.”

Bangladesh were also forced to postpone a planned tour last month after the Dhaka High court ruled Pakistan was “not safe” for the country’s players on a petition filed against the two-match series.