Sri Lanka cricket could be in lucks way if the proposed tours by New Zealand and England take place next month following the postponement of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy Mini World Cup in Pakistan.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) sources revealed yesterday that both New Zealand Cricket Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are keen in touring Sri Lanka in October for a series of one day internationals following the void created by the postponement of the Champions Trophy.
In fact New Zealand Cricket had earlier indicated that they are investigating in organising an international series to fill the gap caused by the postponement of the Champions Trophy. The New Zealand team is not due to play until it tours Bangladesh in October a contest which will act as a warm up for the two Test matches in Australia in November.
The New Zealand team will now arrive in the island during the first week of October on their way to Dhaka to play three one day internationals against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
The SLC of course had explored the opportunities of organising a triangular tournament but that was impossible with New Zealand scheduled to play their first one day international against Bangladesh on October 9.
Justin Vaughan, the New Zealand Cricket chief executive had earlier stated that finding opponents was a bit of a long-shot , but they could be helped because the other major outfits were also free of commitments for most of September.
We ll monitor the environment and see if any of the other countries are willing to participate, Vaughan said in the Dominion Post. We re keen but I guess we ll just wait and see.
The weather in New Zealand would prevent them hosting, but Vaughan said the team was happy to travel. It would be good for the guys to get a bit of cricket prior to the Bangladesh tour and they re all fit and ready to go, he said.
New Zealand s previous visit to the island was way in April/May 2003 where they won a triangular series that also featured Pakistan in Dambulla after the two test matches played in Colombo and Kandy had ended in a draw.
Meanwhile England will be the second team to tour Sri Lanka in October following the postponement of the Champions Trophy. In fact both teams were drawn in the same group for the eight nation tournament which was scheduled to commence on September 11.
England are also expected to play three one day internationals against Sri Lanka in Colombo which will be a kind of a warm up contest ahead of their gruelling tour to India in November which includes seven one day internationals and three Test matches.
In addition Sri Lanka Cricket are in the process of finalizing their proposed tour to Canada for a Twenty20 limited overs tournament along with the hosts, Pakistan and West Indies in late October. Sri Lanka have been invited for this quadrangular tournament after Bangladesh refused to participate due to other international commitments.
The Toronto quadrangular was initially scheduled for August 14-17 but was postponed after the West Indies did not sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Pakistan, Bangladesh and Canada have already confirmed their teams for this event. It is expected that the organizers will sign a MoU with the Sri Lanka Cricket shortly.