Sri Lanka was scheduled to visit Pakistan for a bilateral series, which included 3 one-day internationals and the same number of Twenty20 internationals between September 27 and October 9.
On Monday, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has stated that the upcoming series against Pakistan will go as per the schedule despite a number of their players were pulled out of the tour. It seems to be a big blow to Pakistan’s hopes of bringing back full-fledged international cricket to the country as 10 big names of Sri Lanka have decided against visiting the country due to security reasons.
The decision was taken after a meeting organized by Sri Lanka Cricket with players of the national team. T20 skipper Lasith Malinga, along with former captains Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, and Niroshan Dickwella were the ten players who decided to stay away from this tour.
“Sri Lanka Cricket today held a meeting with players, who were chosen as part of a preliminary squad to select the team, which will be touring Pakistan to play 03 ODIs and 03 T20i matches, starting from 27th September to 09th October 2019,” – Sri Lanka Cricket stated.
“Former Sri Lanka Air Force Commander, Marshal Air Roshan Goonetileke, who is the Chief Security Advisor of the SLC, briefed the players about the security situation in Pakistan and the security arrangements PCB plans on implementing during Sri Lanka team’s tour of that country, whilst Chairman of the National Selection Panel Mr. Asantha De Mel, explained about the selection policy for future tours. He said, players, will be given the freedom to decide on either taking part or not in the forthcoming Pakistan tour.” – Sri Lanka board said.
Pakistan has not hosted any full-length tour ever since the terrorist attack in 2009 on Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, leaving several cricketers injured. It was only in late 2017 when Sri Lanka played a solitary T20 in the host country while the ICC World Eleven and West Indies have also played short T20 series in Pakistan in the last two years.
“Accordingly, the following players chose to stay away from the upcoming Pakistan series – Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne.” – SLC added
“Following the meeting with the players, the National Selectors selected a T20i and ODI squad to tour Pakistan, and the respective squads will be sent to the approval of the Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Honorable Harin Fernando in due course.” – SLC said.
Sri Lanka Cricket and the Pakistan Cricket Board agreed to bring forward the limited-overs and pushed back the two Tests to December, which were originally set to take place in October. Sri Lanka is also expected to take a decision on whether to play the Tests in Pakistan or in the UAE.