LAHORE: The Sri Lankan cricket team’s tour to Pakistan will prove to be a boost for the country’s cricket and its prospect to host other international sides in the future, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani has said.
The Islanders landed in Karachi on Tuesday and are set to take on the hosts in three One-day Internationals in the metropolis’ National Stadium, with the first game on Friday.
This is Sri Lanka’s second visit to Pakistan after the 2009 attack on their team bus in Lahore. The Lankans played a T20 in October 2017. Lahore will host three T20s from October 5-9 after the Karachi one-dayers.
“Despite the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009 they have come to Pakistan and it is a big gesture and like a fresh gust for Pakistan cricket,” Mani said during the series’ logo unveiling ceremony at the Gaddafi Stadium.
“We hope soon the other international teams will also come.”
Mani said PCB and and Sri Lanka Cricket share a special bond and the former played it’s part to strengthen the relationship when it did not cancel the Pakistan Under-19 team’s tour to Sri Lanka despite terrorist attacks in Colombo on the occasion of Easter this year.
“The PCB has also showed the same gesture of love earlier after Colombo was rocked by the terrorists activities as our junior team was ready for its scheduled visit to Sri Lanka and that shows both the countries have exemplary relations which will be strengthened further with this visit of the Sri Lankan team,” said the PCB chief.
Mani said Pakistan had also played a very active role to help Sri Lanka to get Test status from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the past.
Mani credited the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for playing a big part in bringing back international cricket to the country while prominent efforts were being made in the last three years to convince international teams to visit Pakistan.
He said the PCB would welcome all the players who want to visit Pakistan in the future. He said in the fourth edition of the PSL, almost 35 foreign players were in Pakistan, which showed they had the trust on the security arrangements.
Mani urged local fans to visit the stadiums when Pakistan and Sri Lanka take on each other in the limited-overs matches. The PCB chief hoped the series will witness full-packed stands at the National Stadium and the Gaddafi Stadium.
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2019