Indian cricket team to tour Sri Lanka next month

COLOMBO: India will play five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International against hosts Sri Lanka next month to help fill the gap created by their cancelled tour of Pakistan, officials said Tuesday.

The dates and venues for the hastily arranged series will be announced within a few days, Indian cricket board secretary N. Srinivasan told reporters after talks with Sri Lankan board officials.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka''s Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge said his country''s cricketers will be available for the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 competition for the next 10 years.

"We have decided to allow our players to play freely in the IPL," Lokuge said, adding that a 10-year agreement on IPL and other Twenty20 tournaments had been signed between the two cricket boards.

Indian media reports said the upcoming tour was likely to take place between February 1-15 and all matches would be played in Colombo.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni''s team was given a rare break from international cricket after the Indian government declined permission to tour Pakistan in January-February following November''s Mumbai terror attacks.

The upcoming series will be sandwiched between Sri Lanka''s split tour of Pakistan, where they play three One-day Internationals from January 21 to 27 before returning in mid-February for two Test matches.

India are also due to visit New Zealand in March-April and have requested an extra Test match besides the scheduled two Tests and five one-day internationals.