Sri Lanka’s proposed T20I against Pakistan in Lahore reportedly in jeopardy
Sri Lanka’s cricket team are scheduled to play Pakistan in a Twenty20 International in Lahore but some of the players are not ‘ready for the tour’, according to some reports and the Sri Lanka Cricket Board will take a call by next week after meeting ICC officialsUpdated: Oct 08, 2017 17:27 IST
Sri Lanka will take a final call on touring Pakistan for the third and final T20I in Lahore, next week, as an independent security expert will be sent to assess the situation. The players, meanwhile, are reportedly not completely ready for the tour.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has scheduled the final match of the series at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore — the same venue where the Sri Lankan cricket team came under a terrorist attack in 2009 which led to the exit of international cricket in Pakistan.
However, after hosting Zimbabwe in 2015 and an ICC World XI for a three-match T20I series recently, Pakistan expressed confidence of hosting international teams starting with Sri Lanka for the Lahore T20I clash and a full tour of the team from West Indies later this year.
“We will be meeting ICC officials this week and will get their views on the current security situation in Pakistan. If they provide a positive feedback, we will send a representative to assess the situation again before making a final decision,” said Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) CEO Ashley de Silva, according to The Sunday Times.
The report added there is ‘a greater possibility’ of the match being moved to the UAE, where Pakistan and Sri Lanka are currently involved in two-match Test series, to be followed by five ODIs.
A former Sri Lanka cricketer said on the condition of anonymity, “As much as we understand the need to help Pakistan at this moment, we need to grasp the mentality of the players here.”
“It was our team which was directly targeted and even though most of us were not with the team at that time, the scares still haunt us. At this moment, the players are not in favour of touring Pakistan but let’s wait and see,” he added.
Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal, who was on the Pakistan tour in 2009 when the attack took place, recently revealed he still carries a metal splinter which got pierced in his leg. “That was my first tour with the Sri Lankan team. I don’t like to talk about that day because I still have nightmares of that incident. I thought I was going to die that day,” he told Cricbuzz.
“It was like going for a war without weapons. You are inside a bus and four guys firing at you and you are like sitting ducks. Everyone was ducking for cover. There was panic in the bus. I thought I was gone. A splinter pierced into my left leg and I still have it on my leg. When I am in airports, I get into trouble as the metal detectors won’t let me in. Then the manager comes up and explains to security people my story and then I am allowed in,” Lakmal added.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan cricketer Waqar Younis remains optimistic about the match being held in the country. “Pakistan has no better friend than Sri Lanka. We can show that, if Sri Lanka can come — as the shooting happened at their team bus — why not others. It will send a strong message to the world. I request them to come and I can ensure, with what we have seen during World XI series, that things will be fine.”
First Published: Oct 08, 2017 17:27 IST