Mumbai: Around ten Sri Lankan players made themselves unavailable for their upcoming limited-overs tour of Pakistan due to security reason.
Pakistan has scheduled to host Sri Lanka in a three-match ODI series followed by as many T20Is starting from September 27th.
The would-be a huge setback for Pakistan Cricket Board bid to bring international cricket back into the country. Earlier, three senior players T20I captain Lasith Malinga, ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne and former captain Angelo Mathews had expressed their reservations about the visit to Pakistan.
Malinga, Mathews, Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, and Niroshan Dikwela are the ten players who opted out of the tour after a meeting with the Sri Lanka Cricket Board. The meeting was held in Pakistan to assure the players of their safety but the players decided against the visit.
Three ODIs are to be played in Karachi on 27 September, 29 and 3 October in Sri Lanka, followed by a three-match T20 series in Lahore starting on 05 October. The players were reportedly decided to be given a “free-hand” if they wanted the board to choose the squad after the players’ advice so that they could travel to Pakistan.
“Former Air Force Commander of Sri Lanka Marshal Air Roshan Gonnetilke, who is the Chief Security Advisor of SLC, briefed the players about the security situation in Pakistan and the implementation of PCB’s plans during PCBs visit to that country, while the Chairman The SLC said in its statement, ‘National selection panel Mr. Asantha de Mel explained the selection policy for future visits.’
The Sri Lankan team faced a terrible attack in Pakistan for the last time for an international series in 2009. The packed Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by unidentified gunmen in Lahore on March 03, 2009. However, the players became uncontrollable due to the great courage shown by the bus driver, who continued driving amid heavy firing.