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Pakistan to play Test series in Sri Lanka despite emergency



Pakistan will go ahead with the two-Test series in Sri Lanka despite a state of emergency having been declared in the island country.

Already in Sri Lanka, Pakistan wrapped up a three-day tour match in Colombo against the Sri Lanka Cricket XI in the backdrop of massive protests in the country due to the escalating economic crisis.

 “The series will go ahead as planned,” a PCB spokesperson told Dawn on Wednesday, with the first Test set to be played in Galle from Saturday.

 “The team is set to fly to Galle on Thursday and is very happy with the arrangements made by Sri Lanka Cricket.

 “We are in touch with SLC and with the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka regarding the situation.”

Last week, Sri Lanka concluded an all-format series against Australia, featuring Twenty20 Internationals, One-day Internationals and Tests.

Following Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fleeing the country amid protests, the island nation declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. Rajapaksa left the country on a military aircraft with his wife and two bodyguards and landed in the Maldives.

Making things complicated, thousands of people stormed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s palace as well on Wednesday. It has forced the country’s military to step in and urge people to refrain from doing so. With curfews in entire Colombo, Sri Lanka is in a state of turmoil and despair.

Sri Lanka’s national television network, Rupavahini, briefly suspended broadcast after protesters entered the TV station. The telecast resumed later.

Reports on Wednesday suggested that the Asian Cricket Council has also put Bangladesh on standby as hosts for the Asia Cup, which Sri Lanka was due to hold next month.

SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva said on Wednesday that not being able to host the Asia Cup would result in a loss of US$5-6 Million in revenue.

 “Big revenues get generated by hosting teams like India and Pakistan,” de Silva was quoted as saying by the InsideSport website. “That’s why we are still trying to persuade the countries to play in Sri Lanka. For us revenues are critical. At this stage even for our country any incoming dollar is critical. We are all geared up to host the Asia Cup and we all are in a positive mood.”



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