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Sri Lanka cancels tour of New Zealand

30/12/2004 05:54:39 AM Comments (0)

Sri Lanka has called off its cricket tour of New Zealand, three days after a massive tidal wave hit the island nation killing more than 22,000 people.

Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement it had asked New Zealand to reschedule the remaining games.

"The Sri Lankan cricketers have always stood by the people of this country in good times and bad times," the statement said.

"The cancellation of this tour will enable the Sri Lankan cricketers to join Sri Lanka Cricket to assist the victims affected by this grave disaster."

No family members of the Sri Lankan team were reported to have died.

Two days ago, both teams agreed to postpone the second of five limited-overs games and rescheduled the two tests planned in January to allow Sri Lankan players to observe a period of mourning.

New Zealand won the first one-day international by seven wickets on December 26, the day the tsunami hit.

"As the magnitude of the recent events in Sri Lanka have unfolded, it has become more difficult for the Sri Lankan team to remain in New Zealand, and we can understand their decision as the players are expected to play a meaningful role back home with the rest of the people in Sri Lanka," New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Sneddon said.

The International Cricket Council in London also said it backed the decision.

"The impact of the tsunami on Sri Lanka has been devastating and we fully understand the decision taken by the boards to postpone the series," ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed said.

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