India have agreed to play a tri-nation T20I series in Sri Lanka also involving Bangladesh in March next year to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th independence, Sri Lanka Cricket President Thilanga Sumathipala announced.
The series will take place from March 15 to 31, 2018 and will be played for the Nidhas Trophy. Nidhas is a Sanskrit word which means independence. The tournament will involve six first-round games where the three teams will play the opponents twice and the top two teams will qualify for the finals.
"We celebrate the 70th year of our independence next year and SLC also completes 70 years in 2018. We are happy that both BCCI and BCB have confirmed their participation for the tri-nation series," Sumathipala told journalists during a media briefing at P. Sara Oval on Wednesday (March 15) where the second Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was taking place.
Sumathipala said that the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinhe had first suggested to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to send the Indian team to Colombo as part of the country's independence celebrations and then the matter had been discussed at board levels.
"We are keen to invite the Indian and Bangladesh Prime Minister as well for the finals of this event," Sumathipala added.
SLC Chief was flanked by BCCI CEO Rahul Jori and BCB President Nazmul Hasan.
India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka conducted cricket tournaments to celebrate their 50th independence anniversary as well in 1997 and 1998.
"SLC President said that how the Sri Lankan team won the Indian independence Cup in 1997 and we are waiting to return the favour," Johri told journalists.
"On behalf of the BCCI, I would like to mention that we are proud to be part of this event," Johri added.
India will be in Sri Lanka in July this year as well where they will play three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s.