Officials from the Pakistan and Sri Lanka boards will meet at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to discuss the fate of Sri Lanka's tour to Pakistan in January. The tour, which materialised after India pulled out, had been confirmed between the two boards but is now in some doubt after the sacking of Arjuna Ranatunga as chairman of the interim board of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Sri Lanka's sport minister, Gamini Lokuge, who dissolved Ranatunga's administration on Tuesday, said Ranatunga's decisions - presumably including the one to tour Pakistan - will be reconsidered. "Everything has been handed over to Sports Secretary S. Liyanagama, the competent authority to oversee the cricket administration, and he'll be looking into security in Pakistan before a final decision is taken with regard to the tour," he said.
He said he would hold discussions with the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and wait for word from the foreign ministry on the issue.
Ranatunga had earlier said that Sri Lanka would not hesitate to send a team to Pakistan and expressed confidence in their ability to provide adequate security.
The Pakistan board has not yet heard anything from the SLC, but hopes the situation will become clearer after Saturday's meeting. "Our last official contact with them was when they requested the itinerary change and we accepted. Since then we have heard nothing," Saleem Altaf, PCB's chief operating officer,
"The change in their board is an internal matter. We deal at a board-to-board level and not just with individuals. We've got a confirmation from them but the issue will be taken up at the ACC meeting. Until then we go ahead with the preparations as planned," he said.
There are indications already, however, that should the SLC show further hesitation over the tour, the matter might be taken up at the government level.
Pakistan haven't played any Tests in 2008 and their last one-day series was against West Indies in Abu Dhabi in November. They also played in the Kitply Cup - a tri-series tournament involving India and Bangladesh - and the Asia Cup, but having managed full-fledged ODI series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe at home this year, any cricket against credible opposition will be the greatly appreciated.