There have been a lot of commotion surrounding Sri Lanka’s upcoming tour of Pakistan. The teams are scheduled to lock horns in a three-match ODI series, starting September 27 at the National Stadium in Karachi followed by a three-match T20I series, starting October 5 at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The visitors were earlier compelled to name a depleted squad for both the formats.
The same is for the reason that 10 of their players, including the likes of ODI skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and T20I captain Lasith Malinga have backed out from the tour citing security concerns. Even as Lahiru Thirimanne has been named as the ODI skipper, Dasun Shanaka will lead the national team in the T20I series. Ahead of the tour, Shanaka opened up on his thoughts.
Shanaka hopes to give tough fight to Pakistan
The all-rounder is happy with all the security arrangements and is hoping for his team to give a tough fight to the mighty hosts in the latter’s backyard. “I have been there before. I am satisfied with the security arranged for us and I am happy to lead my team to Pakistan. We hope to give a good fight to our very strong hosts,” Shanaka was quoted as saying in India Today.
Earlier a security delegation visited Pakistan and gave a positive feedback to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Thereafter, it was decided that the series would go on. Ahead of their departure from Colombo, the Lankan cricketers were blessed by the Buddhist monks for their well-being.
Back in 2017, Sri Lanka played a solitary T20I at the Gaddafi Stadium and even during that time, a number of their major players refrained from going to the war-stricken nation. Recently, Fawad Hussain Chaudhary, the Pakistan Minister, claimed that the players backed out from the upcoming Pakistan tour after the influence of the Indian sports authorities.
However, Sri Lanka Minister Harin Fernando termed the reports as baseless. “No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan. Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident. Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel. We have a full strength team & we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan,” he said.
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