SL not to tour Pak without security clearance

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Colombo: With the security situation worsening in Pakistan with every passing day, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has made it clear that it will not send the national team to the strife-torn country until and unless it gets safety clearance.

Pakistan`s chances of hosting the bilateral series received a severe blow last night when armed terrorits attacked at a military base in Karachi, which is very close to the National Stadium.

"We have received requests from Pakistan over the past three or four months. The PCB told us that they would like to host our team as scheduled in the FTP. We told them our stance that we need security clearance first before sending a team there again," SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga was quoted as saying by cricinfo.

Incidentally, during the island nation`s last tour of Pakistan in 2009, the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by armed gunmen on its way to the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore.

The attack on the Lankan team not only cut short the tour but also resulted in the death of international cricket in Pakistan as all major cricket playing nations refused to visit the country, citing security fears.

PCB, on its part, remained hopeful about the tour and has already assured its Sri Lankan counterparts of high-level security for the visitng team during the series.

"We have sent them a fresh invite to play the series of three Tests, five one-day internationals and one Twenty20 match in Pakistan in October-November," PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar said yesterday.

"We are waiting for their response but we have given them full security assurances."
However, Sarwar`s comments came before the terrorist attack on the military base in Karachi.

Meanwhile, SLC interim committee chairman Somachandra de Silva said that they have received PCB`s invitation but have declined the offer to play the series in Pakistan.

"We have replied to the PCB and await their confirmation. We are not going to play in Pakistan at this stage and have offered to host the series in our country," de Dilva said.

"If they agree to play in Sri Lanka they will have to bear the entire hosting costs. We have also expressed our willingness to play at a neutral venue in Dubai or Abu Dhabi."

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