Sri Lanka cricket team has finally arrived in Karachi for three one-day internationals on September 27, 29 and October 2, to be followed by as many T20 internationals in Lahore.
As the Sri Lankans reach Lahore in the first week of October, the memories of the terrorist attack on the team bus during the Island Nation’s 2009 tour of Pakistan will still be haunting them. It was in Lahore ten years ago that the Sri Lanka team bus on their way to the Gadhafi Stadium had come under a hail of terrorist bullets.
Security concerns among players visiting Pakistan still prevail. All major teams have avoided Pakistan since that ambush, which killed eight people and injured several players.
It also remains a big concern for the Pakistan establishment as any other mishap will inflict an irreparable damage to the nation which now has an ICC World Cup champion captain Imran Khan as the country’s Premier.
Pakistan Government, according to reports, has accorded the presidential-level security to the visiting team.
However, despite all the assurances at least 10 senior members of the Sri Lanka team have opted out the ongoing Pakistan tour. ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Twenty20 skipper Lasith Malinga are among the players who have stayed away from the Pakistan tour amidst security concerns.
The present limited overs series will be the first occasion in the past ten years when an overseas team will be in the terror-torn nation for two consecutive weeks.
Pakistan during the intervening period though has hosted Zimbabwe, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, and a World XI for limited-overs matches amidst intense security.
The present tour will go a long way in determining the future of international cricket in the nation, that has been struggling badly on financial, political, security and diplomatic fronts.