Pakistan urges Sri Lanka tour despite trouble

KARACHI, May 22, 2011 (AFP) – Pakistan have officially invited Sri Lanka to contest a home series in the hope that the two governments can sort out a tour due to start in October, an official said Sunday. Gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team in March 2009 in Lahore injuring seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach and killing eight Pakistanis.

Pakistan blamed the assault on the Taliban, and the national side has since been forced to play its home series at neutral venues.

Since then no foreign team has toured Pakistan on security fears, although Afghanistan’s team is scheduled to tour Pakistan from Tuesday but it seems unlikely to inspire bigger cricketing nations to follow suit.

“We have sent an official invitation to Sri Lanka Cricket to play the series of three Tests, five One-day Internationals and one Twenty20 match in Pakistan in October-November this year,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Nadeem Sarwar told AFP on Sunday.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt last week met interior minister Rehman Malik who assured him of security for the touring teams and instructed Butt to convince Sri Lanka to play in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Somachandra de Silva