Senior Sri Lanka players reluctant to travel to Pakistan

Pakistan Cricket Board is gearing up to host Sri Lanka for a six limited orders international matches – three T20Is and ODIs each – later this month. Cricket Sri Lanka has confirmed the week-long tour that starts with the first One Day International on September 27 in Karachi.

As the PCB is hoping the tour will help improve the health of Pakistan cricket and serve as a booster for other international teams to visit the terror-torn nation, trouble is brewing in Sri Lanka over the tour. Senior cricketers are reportedly not ready to visit the country, where the team from the Emerald Island has narrowly escaped death during a terrorist attack on their bus in 2009 when six players were wounded in gunfire when on their way to Gadaffi Stadiun in Lahore.

According to media reports, SLC and contacted players are up against each other over the proposed tour. The board has given the nod for the tour without consulting the players.

Veterans like Dimuth Karunaratne and T20 skipper Lashish Malinga are unlikely to join the team as senior players have informed the board about their reluctance.

SLC though is expecting the tour to go ahead as scheduled. “The World XI has gone there, Pakistan Super League has taken place and even our own team went and played there in 2017. We have studied the security arrangements and we have no issues in going on the tour,” Sunday Island has reported an SLC spokesperson as saying.

Senior players are not comfortable with the week-long tour. They claim no foreign team has been in Pakistan for so long ever since the 2009 terrorist attack on their bus. “Last time we went to Pakistan it was for just one game and we stayed for less than 24 hours. But this time it is a different scenario altogether,” a source privy to the discussions between players and SLC has said.

SLC will meet the contracted players on September 9. But chairman of selectors Ashantha De Mel has is reportedly taken a balanced view giving players a choice to decide whether they want to go or not. He has also assured the players that decision would not impact their chance for selection in future.