Sri Lanka are scheduled to play a full-fledged ODI and T20I series in Pakistan, starting September 27. Even as the One Dayers will take place at the National Stadium in Karachi, the iconic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore are set to play host to the 20-overs fixtures. SLC gave a green signal tour to the matches after it got a positive feedback from a security delegation that travelled to Pakistan.
Despite that a few of the senior Lankan players are apprehensive about going to the nation. It includes, Angelo Mathews, ODI and Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Lasith Malinga, the T20I skipper. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has opened up. Though the body refrained from making any comment on the players’ availability, it said that preparations are being carried out.
“Technically it is an internal matter of the Sri Lankan board so we can’t comment on it. But the bottom line is that the tour is on from 25th September and we are making all preparations to host them in Karachi and Lahore,” an official source was quoted as saying in Times Now.
Sri Lanka Sports Minister ready to travel with the team
The families of the three players aren’t quite secure about them going to Pakistan. In 2009, the Lankan team bus was attacked outside Gaddafi Stadium after which international cricket in Pakistan came to an end. The memories of the attack must be pretty afresh in the minds of the Lankans.
A source in the PCB has mentioned that Harin Fernando, the Sri Lankan Sports Minister, had called the three cricketers for a meeting on Monday, September 9. In the meeting, the players would be assured of full security in the arrangements. He is also prepared to travel Pakistan with the team.
Back in October 2017, a Sri Lankan side played a solitary T20I in Lahore. But even in that game, a number of the visitors’ players backed out citing security concerns. The teams will also play a couples of Tests in December for the World Championship. However, whether the series will take place in Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hasn’t been finalised.
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