Karachi:Sri Lanka on Friday agreed in principle to tour Pakistan for a Test series next month giving the PCB something to cheer about following India's decision to call off its tour to the country in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had sent an invitation to the Sri Lankans after the Indian government yesterday pulled the plug on its cricket team's tour of Pakistan, scheduled to start from January 4.
"Arjuna Ranatunga, the President of Sri Lankan cricket board has sent an answer in the affirmative to our invitation. We are now working out the final details of the series," Saleem Altaf, chief operating officer of the PCB, said.
He said Sri Lanka would be playing three Tests and three one-dayers besides taking on Pakistan in a Twenty20 game.
The Tests would be held in Karachi, Lahore and Multan while the ODIs would be played in the first two places. Karachi will also host the lone Twenty20 encounter.
"They are expected to reach Pakistan straight from Bangladesh where they complete their tour around January 16," Altaf said.
Pakistan has been desperate to play Tests at home as the national team has gone without a series since December last year due to security concerns raised by other nations.
Pakistan also played just 21 One-day Internationals this year, many of them against weak opponents like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
Altaf said Sri Lanka's confirmation had come at a very good time as Pakistan needed to revive international cricket activities at home.
"We are really thankful to Ranatunga and other board officials for coming to our rescue because we need to give our team some international cricket and also generate revenues," Altaf said.
Pakistan is expected to lose an estimated USD 20 million due to the India team's pull out.
Meanwhile, Pakistan players Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi welcomed Sri Lanka's confirmation.
"It is great news because we are desperate to play some Test cricket. The cancellation of the Indian tour was very disappointing for all of us yesterday," Afridi said.
Altaf said the reasons behind India's decision to pull out of the tour would be discussed at a high level meeting of the officials.
"What has happened has happened but we now need to look ahead and plan for the future," he said.
He also said the issue of Pakistan players taking part in the IPL and ICL would also come up for discussion in the meeting.
"It is an issue that needs to be looked into. We will see how to go about it. Indian board has told us they would discuss cricket ties with us when conditions permit and improve," he stated.
Akhtar said as far as the players were concerned they would go by any policy decision the Pakistan government takes regarding cricket ties with India.