Pakistan will have to wait long before an international cricket team plays on its home turf. Sri Lankan cricket team was slated to play three ODIs and three T20i matches beginning from 27th September to 9th October, this year. However, things took a turn for the worse during the Monday’s meeting that was held between the players and the Chairman of the National Selection Panel, Asantha De Mel as well as with the Chief Security Advisor of Sri Lanka Cricket, Air Marshal Roshan Goonetileke (Former Sri Lanka Air Force Commander).
The Air Marshal Roshan Goonetileke informed the players about the safety situation in Pakistan and what are the measures the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) plans on executing. Asantha De Mel discussed the selection policy that will be implemented for the future.
The 2009 incident weighed heavily on the team. In Lahore, gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan team’s bus. It cost the lives of two civilians and six security personnel. Also, six cricketers were wounded. Hence, for this tour, players were free to decide after the meeting, if they wanted to be part of the tour.
The outcome of the meeting saw 10 Sri Lankan players opting out of the Tour of Pakistan. It wasn’t only the players that were distraught with the tour, but their families too. The players include:
- Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain)
- Niroshan Dickwella
- Kusal Janith Perera
- Dhananjaya De Silva
- Thisara Perera
- Akila Dhananjaya
- Lasith Malinga
- Angelo Mathews
- Suranga Lakmal
- Dinesh Chandimal
In addition, Kusal Mendis, who was injured in the New Zealand series was unavailable for selection.
According to the official Sri Lankan Cricket statement, “Following the meeting with the players, the National Selectors, selected a T20i and ODI squad to tour Pakistan, and the respective squads will be sent to the approval of the Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Honorable Harin Fernando in due course.”
A source on the Pakistan Cricket Board said to Press Trust of India that Pakistan will receive any team the Sri Lankan board sends. Also, the cricket boards of both countries settled on limited over series. This was discussed in August after an agreement where two Tests were postponed. It was originally set to take place in October.
The Sri Lankan Tour of Pakistan will be a new chapter for cricket in Pakistan. The success of it will steer the planning of future tournaments.
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