26 Dec 2008

Jayawardene tells team not to worry about Pakistan tour

12:30 pm on 26 December 2008

Sri Lanka cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene has asked his players to concentrate on the Test series against Bangladesh beginning on Boxing Day - rather than worry about the uncertainty surrounding next month's tour in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka agreed to step in to tour Pakistan after India pulled out due to security concerns.

The chairman of Sri Lankan cricket's interim committee, the former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, confirmed the tour to Pakistan last week - but he and his team were then fired by the country's sports minister.

And the sports minister says the Pakistan tour was one of several recent decisions by Ranatunga's administration that would be urgently reviewed.

Jayawardene shunned questions on whether he has any security concerns over touring Pakistan.

Pakistan have not played a test in more than a year, with opponents declining invitations or pulling out due to security fears after a series of suicide bombings in the country.

Pakistan officials hope to convince Sri Lanka in talks at the Asian Cricket Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur to proceed with the tour amid concerns it will be scrapped by the new administrators.

Sri Lanka is scheduled to play two tests against Bangladesh and a tri-nation one-day tournament involving the hosts and Zimbabwe.