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Sri Lanka keen to visit Pakistan for T20I cricket clash in September

The Sri Lanka cricket team is likely to tour Pakistan in September for at least one T20I game if plans fall in place.

cricket Updated: Aug 14, 2017 12:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Sri Lanka cricket team,Pakistan cricket team,Sri Lanka Cricket
Sri Lanka could face Pakistan in at least one T20I cricket game in Lahore in plans fall into place.(Getty Images)

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president and Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC) development committee’s chairman, Thilanga Sumathipala has stated that Sri Lanka will be ready to tour Pakistan for at least one T20I in Lahore “if all logistical and operational plans fall in place”.

The announcement came after the conclusion of ACC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Colombo last Saturday, August 12. The dates of the proposed Pakistan versus Sri Lanka series have not been announced as of now, but it is likely to be played in September, reported Cricbuzz.

“Cricket is a game of change, chance and chase. The game today, and its following is very different to what it was 10 years ago and as administrators we are faced with a different set of challenges to overcome. World cricket is in the hands of the unity of Asia. We need to respectfully understand each other’s problems and stand by each other. This is the spirit of the Asian Cricket Council,” Sumathipala said.

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“I am keen to take my team to Pakistan. We have had our security experts visit and make an assessment, and things look positive with things improving all over the country and especially Lahore being cleared. We have three T20I games coming up against Pakistan in September and we would like to play at least one of those games in Lahore,” he added.

Pakistan have been able to organise only one bilateral series — a limited-overs affair against Zimbabwe amidst heavy security in May 2015 — ever since the Sri Lankan cricket team came under a terrorist attack in 2009, outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has intensified its efforts to bring international cricket back in the country, and the national team is also slated to play a T20I series against an ICC World XI sometime in September.

However, Pakistan’s efforts suffered a setback when New Zealand announced that their contracted cricketers will not be travelling for this series.

READ | Pakistan get U-19 cricket Asia Cup shifted from Bengaluru to Malaysia

On his part, Sumathipala has made an appeal to all ACC members to assist Pakistan in their efforts. He highlighted the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which took place in London despite the city suffering two terrorist attacks while the tournament was being played.

“I call upon each one of you as members to play your role and give Pakistan the security of your support. There is always risk — there were two attacks in London during the Champions Trophy, but cricket continued under the security assurances of the ICC. So likewise, we too must be as accommodating and understanding as possible with our members and extend our fullest support to them as the cricketing family of Asia,” he said.

“Sri Lanka suffered through three decades of terrorism and war and at one stage no one wanted to come here — Pakistan stood by us then, as did India. The opportunities available throughout the Asian region for the development of this game that is so close to our hearts is enormous. The efforts and the investment of our member countries are phenomenal and we need to support this development,” Sumathipala added.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 11:19 IST