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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning to invite India and Sri Lanka for a series of one-day internationals if Australia pull out of their scheduled tour in March-April this year. Sources confirmed to Daily times here on Friday that there was a strong possibility that Australia would not tour Pakistan due to security concerns. “Doubts about whether Australia will come for their first tour in nearly a decade have increased day-by-day over the last week, the latest coming from Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain. The PCB has approached Sri Lanka Cricket and Indian Cricket Board to play ODIs in Pakistan in case Australia cancel their tour,” sources added.

Sources said PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi and PCB senior general manager international cricket Subhan Ahmad had met the Indian and Sri Lanka officials and tried to convince them to play ODIs in Pakistan. “In a meeting with BCCI vice president Rajiv Shukla and Lalit Moody the PCB officials planned three-match ODI series in Pakistan. They also discussed the ICC Future Tour Programme. The PCB officials also met Cricket Sri Lanka chief Arjuna Ranatunga and convinced him to play ODIs in April.” Sri Lanka are due to tour West Indies in May this year.

Both PCB and BCCI, however, are officially denying the development. India, as ever, are hemmed in by a hectic schedule. Between their return from Australia and the first Test against South Africa, an ODI series, even just across the border, seems unlikely. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the PCB has confirmed the PCB meetings with India and Sri Lanka officials but added that the purpose behind the meetings was to discuss the Future Tour Plan. “The PCB officials held talks with the Indian and Sri Lanka officials. However, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the strategy of the Asian block regarding the Future Tour Plan,” he said.
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