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Cricket Australia keeping a close watch on situation in Sri Lanka: Report

Australia are scheduled to play three Twenty20 Internationals, five One-day Internationals, and two Tests in Sri Lanka beginning June 7, but the country’s unrest, which forced Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha to resign and left nearly half a dozen people dead and hundreds injured

SNS | New Delhi |

Cricket Australia (CA) has stated that it is closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka, which is experiencing growing anti-government protests, as the Kangaroos prepare for a month-long tour of the island nation beginning early next month.

Australia are scheduled to play three Twenty20 Internationals, five One-day Internationals, and two Tests in Sri Lanka beginning June 7, but the country’s unrest, which forced Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha to resign and left nearly half a dozen people dead and hundreds injured, has forced CA to closely monitor the country’s evolving situation.

To control the situation, the Sri Lankan government has imposed a countrywide curfew and deployed armed troops in the capital, Colombo.

The Australian cricketers will spend 16 days of their month-long tour in Colombo, where the violence has erupted, according to the itinerary.

A report in cricket.com.au said that, “CA officials had until this point been certain the tour would go ahead, and remain confident.” In fact, Cricket Australia’s head of security, Stuart Bailey, had done a ‘reconnaissance tour’ of Sri Lanka last month in the midst of the economic crisis, and the team was cleared to tour the country.

But the dynamic situation in the island nation could force CA to make last-minute changes.

“CA officials will now start to monitor the situation more closely following Monday night’s violence, but are still confident the tour will proceed,” said the report.

“It comes after Australia made the call to complete their first tour of Pakistan in 24 years in March and April, persisting with it even after a suicide bomber killed more than 30 people about a two hour-drive from the venue of the first Test,” it added.

(Inputs from IANS)