The three-match ODI series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has finally been confirmed after the organisers secured sponsors and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), according to one of its officials. The series was originally scheduled for May 9 but was postponed till May 18 due to Sri Lanka's delayed arrival from the Caribbean and lack of interest from sponsors and television channels.
"The Abu Dhabi cricket officials have informed us that there are no financial issues anymore and the series would go ahead as planned," Zakir Khan, PCB's Director of Cricket Operations, told The News.
Zakir also rejected reports that Sri Lanka was set to receive a bigger amount or their participation in the desert series. "It is absurd. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka would be paid the same amount to feature in the series," he said without disclosing the amounts involved.
The organisers in Abu Dhabi had initially planned for a triangular tournament featuring Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa but were forced to alter their plans after the South Africans refused to participate in the proposed event. The series would also be without several stars from either side as leading Pakistani batsman Younis Khan and pace star Shoaib Akhtar made themselves unavailable for the event. From the Sri Lankan side, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas and Kumar Sangakkara would miss the series.
The three matches there would be played on May 18, 20 and 22 under floodlights.