Only if the Lankans had listened to us...

Published: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 16:30 [IST]
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Lahore: They didn't even heed to India's warning and went forward with the Pakitan tour. Atlast Sri Lanka's cricketers paid a heavy price Tuesday for agreeing to tour a country nobody else was prepared to visit.

They only stepped in after India cancelled a much-anticipated January-February series here due to simmering political tensions between the two countries over the Mumbai terrorist attacks last November.

That cancellation was the third major cricket event called off in Pakistan in the past year, after Australia refused to tour in March and the ICC postponed the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy set for August until 2009.

It was a disaster for the Pakistan Cricket Board who said at the time that the Indian pullout would lose them least 25 million dollars.

While Sri Lanka initially committed to fill the Indian void the tour came into question after the country's sports minister, Gamini Lokuge, disbanded the interim national cricket board and sacked its chairman Arjuna Ranatunga.

But in December Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse finally gave the green light, making the team the first to play a Test in Pakistan since South Africa in October 2007.

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