Post-World-Cup schedule busier than ever

England and Australia busy on Lankan calendar

By S.R. Pathiravithana

On the completion of the next World Cup which will be played in the Indian subcontinent in February and the Indian-based IPL following that, the Lankan cricketers will have two back-to-back crunch battles with England and Australia, according to the 2011 edition of the Lankan tour itinerary.

First, the Lankans will be the early guests of the English summer where they will play three Tests and five one-day internationals along with a T-20 tie and then come back home to host the Australians for Three Tests and five ODI matches from mid-August 2011 to end of September 2011.

Though the English summer programme is lined out in detail, the Sri Lankan authorities still have not ironed out the Australian tour programme. But Sri Lanka Cricket is likely to spread out the engagements as now they have two new venues in Pallekelle and Hambantota which are being commissioned for the World Cup.

Following the two gruelling engagements against England and Australia, Lankans are billed to visit Pakistan for a three Test, five ODI series. But, the 2009 Lahore terror attacks will entice the Lankans to invite the South Asian Cricketing neighbours home. However the Lankan authorities are closely monitoring the security situation in Pakistan prior to making their final decision.
The Lankan sweat will not stop there.

They would turn 2011 to 2012 in the Southern hemisphere being engaged in another three Tests and five ODI matches away in South Africa. The tour would probably culminate in the Asia Cup which the Asian Cricket Conference has yet to finalise.

However in February 2012, the Lankans will be away in Australia to take part in an ODI series that may comprise eight to eleven matches and come back home to host England for the reciprocal series in March-April 2012 where they will play three Tests and five ODIs in all probabilities.

The Lankan authorities who have worked hard to get this existing line-up are faced with one dilemma.
Sandwiched between the two series – Australia and England 2012 -- is the already scheduled FTP ODI tour of Bangladesh. However, the Lankan authorities have spoken to Bangladeshi officials and are looking for another window to accommodate them.

SLC’s Director Cricket operations Ashley de Silva commenting on the matter said “We feel the Lankan cricketers would be physically and mentally tired after the Australian tour and what follows is another gruelling affair against England once again. So we are looking for another window to fit our Asian neighbours in, but in 2011 the Lankans have a very tight schedule.” Sri Lanka is scheduled to play England once again in 2014 and in 2016.

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