About ten years ago, Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by the terrorists in Pakistan while they were heading to the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore. Ever since then, most of the international teams have decided not to tour the country citing security reasons. Instead, Pakistan has been playing at a neutral venue in UAE. However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been trying hard to bring cricket back to the country of late.
Earlier, the Islanders toured Pakistan in 2017 for the shortest format of the game. Thus, they helped bring cricket back to the country. Now again in 2019, the team will be touring the same country yet again. According to Sunday Times, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided that Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka will lead the respective ODI and T20I teams. This decision comes after several senior cricketers decided to opt-out of this tour.
Senior Sri Lanka cricketers opt-out of this tour
Several senior cricketers including the ODI and Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne have decided to opt-out of this Pakistan tour. T20I captain Lasith Malinga, who recently picked up a double hat-trick against New Zealand also won’t be taking part. Apart from this, all-rounder Angelo Mathews will not be flying to Pakistan due to security concerns. Thisara Perera has got his CPL commitments and won’t be able to take part in this series.
D Karunaratne, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, N Dickwella, Kusal Perera, D De Silva, Thisara Perera, A Dhananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, D Chandimal are the ten cricketers who won’t get on the flight to Pakistan.
10 Sri Lankan Cricketers to stay away from Pakistan tour due to safety concerns 🇱🇰🏏
1. D Karunaratne
2. Lasith Malinga
3. Angelo Mathews
4. N Dickwella
5. Kusal Perera
6. D De Silva
7. Thisara Perera
8. A Dhananjaya
9. S Lakmal
10. D Chandimal
— Azzam Ameen (@AzzamAmeen) September 9, 2019
Even though the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has urged Sri Lanka to play a full-fledged series, they didn’t agree. Thus, there won’t be a two-match Test series as speculated earlier. Instead, both these teams will be competing in the limited-overs formats only. Sri Lanka is set to play three T20Is and three ODIs in Pakistan later this month.
The tour will begin with the ODI games starting from 27 September. All three ODI matches will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi. Then, the proceedings will move to Lahore for the T20Is. Pakistan has promised the sort of “foolproof security” accorded to top VIPs for the players.