PCB wants firm answer from slippery Sri Lanka


The Pakistan Cricket Board has sought clearance from Sri Lanka Cricket after reports that the SLC was not in a mood to play the upcoming series on a neutral venue. The SLC officials have been giving contradictory statements about the organization of the series.
The PCB has asked the SLC that as the things have already been finalised and the venue status is at last stages of finalization, the reports from SLC quarters would damage the initiation of the series and the relations with the sponsors. The PCB officials are in the UAE to finalise the arrangements for the forthcoming series in October-November.
Since UAE has become the virtual second home for Pakistan cricket since teams’ refuse to travel to Pakistan over security concerns, the PCB had requested the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to ‘host’ the series against Sri Lanka.
Chief Operating Officer of ECB Dilawar Mani said that he would meet the PCB officials to finalise the tour itinerary for the Pakistan-Sri Lanka series which comprises five Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match. The Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai Sports City are the two most likely venues.
“They are also inspecting Sharjah Cricket Stadium which is also under consideration as a venue for a Test match or one-day internationals,” he added. But the newly appointed chairman of SLC’s interim committee Upali Dharmadasa has upset PCB officials by saying that the UAE venue for the series has not been confirmed.
“We haven’t been informed of venues for the series yet. In fact the other day, I read on BBC website that series was confirmed to be played at Abu Dhabi. I learnt about it only then. We are going to discuss this matter at our Interim Committee meeting and then only we can communicate with the PCB and finalise the venues,” Dharmadasa was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror on Saturday.
He added that SLC will try to convince the PCB again to organise the series in Sri Lanka as it will also give the Sri Lankan fans a chance to watch the matches. The PCB had previously refused to play the series in Sri Lanka and preferred the UAE because it offered better profits.
Sri Lanka had been willing to tour Pakistan but the deteriorating security situation in the country led to a change in plans. The PCB and the ECB officials expressed surprised that Dharmadasa professed ignorance that UAE had been announced as the venue for the series.
“We are very surprised because before making a formal announcement about the series we had got formal approval of the SLC. There could be some misunderstanding that needs to sorted out but the series is in the UAE and we have started making arrangements for it,” a PCB spokesman was quoted as saying.
“This is a matter entirely between the PCB and SLC but the statement by Dharmadasa surprised me. We have confirmed everything for the series and have already started preparations,” said ECB’s Mani.
He pointed out that the PCB had also signed a deal with ECB to have the series with England in the UAE beginning early next year.