LAHORE: Sri Lanka’s trouble-free tour of Pakistan amid presidential-level security has paved the way for other cricket teams to play in the country, according to Sri Lanka coach Rumesh Ratnayake.
“This [tour] has gone very smoothly and it will encourage so many other countries to come here,” Ratnayake said. “This tour is a message for the whole world.”
Major teams have avoided touring Pakistan since Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked at Lahore in 2009. Although Pakistan has hosted Zimbabwe, World XI and Sri Lanka sides for limited-overs matches over the last four years, this was the first time that a foreign team had spent two weeks in Pakistan.
“To experience the hospitality of Pakistan is a great thing, I’ve experienced it after a long, long time and, if anything, it’s got even better,” Ratnayake said. “It was a lot of hard work for the whole system to have us here.”
Ratnayake called the security “impeccable” and said he had “enjoyed every moment of it even though some of us came in doubt. But the doubt has been taken out now.”
Several top Sri Lanka players refused to tour Pakistan due to security concerns, including its Twenty20 skipper Lasith Malinga.
But a young and inexperienced Sri Lanka team, led by Dasun Shanaka, swept top-ranked Pakistan in the Twenty20s.
Pakistan is due to host Sri Lanka for two Test matches in December, but Sri Lanka is yet to confirm whether the series will be played in Pakistan or at a neutral venue.
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2019