COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s cricket authorities remain hopeful of going ahead with their tour of Pakistan but will await the final all-clear from the defence ministry, a board official said on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Secretary Mohan de Silva said he was satisfied with the security arrangements of their hosts, but reports last week of a possible terror attack had been referred to the defence ministry for investigation.
The Sri Lanka team was the target of an attack during a Test match in Pakistan’s Lahore in March 2009. Six Sri Lankan players were injured when gunmen attacked their bus. Six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were killed.
Since the attack, a majority of international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country.
Sri Lanka played one Twenty20 International against Pakistan at Lahore in October 2017.
De Silva said: “Earlier last month I visited Pakistan along with our security consultant and we were satisfied with the arrangements. They have promised security reserved for a head of state.”
The six-match tour, due to start on Sept 27, was put on hold last week after Sri Lanka’s prime minister’s office warned the board that it had unspecified information about a possible attack against its players.
SLC did not call off the tour, but instead asked the government to reassess the security situation and make a final determination about the fate of the tournament.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have said they were not aware of any information relating to the safety of the Sri Lankan team, but have reiterated their commitment to provide security.
Ten senior players — including current Test and ODI skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, T20 captain Lasith Malinga plus former skippers Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal — have opted out of the tour citing security concerns.
Sri Lanka have already announced two squads — to be led by Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka, respectively — for the three One-day Internationals, and the three Twenty20 Internationals.
The one-dayers will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi, while Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium would host the Twenty20s.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2019