'Absence of top Sri Lanka players should not matter to Pakistan'

Updated September 16, 2019

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The best Sri Lankan players opting out of their upcoming tour of Pakistan should not be a problem for the hosts according to former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad. — AFP/File
The best Sri Lankan players opting out of their upcoming tour of Pakistan should not be a problem for the hosts according to former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The best Sri Lankan players opting out of their upcoming tour of Pakistan should not be a problem for the hosts according to former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad.

Sri Lanka are scheduled to play three One-day Internationals and as many T20s in Karachi and Lahore respectively with the first ODI on Sept 27.

However, citing security fears, Sri Lanka’s top players, namely T20 skipper Lasith Malinga, former captains Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella have decided not to visit Pakistan for the limited-overs games.

“It does not matter which Sri Lankan players visit and Pakistan must only look to put up their best performances regardless of the visitors’ squad quality,” Miandad told APP.

Miandad, however, believed that Sri Lanka Cricket should take action against their players who prioritise foreign T20 leagues over international duty.

“International matches should be the top priority for the players and SLC should penalise the ones who have opted out of the Pakistan series,” the 62-year-old said.

Miandad said the series will help Pakistan make a good start to their international cricket calendar which also includes series against Australia and Bangla­desh. He said playing Sri Lanka at home will give Pakistani players confidence.

The right-hander, who amassed 8,832 runs in 124 Tests for Pakistan, said Pakistan batsman should try to aim higher and improve their averages. He urged them to try and get 200 runs whenever they make a century.

“This will help them improve their mentality,” said Miandad.

The Karachi-born legend said the Pakistan Cricket Board should use former players to work with blossoming cricketers at the grassroots level. Miandad also urged the board to work on school and club cricket.

“A player after making it to the national team cannot learn the way a youngster can,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2019