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September 19, 2019

Sri Lanka Board hopeful of saving Pakistan tour

Sports

September 19, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket authorities have entered the final leg of preparations for the forthcoming home series against Sri Lanka after indications that the tour will go on as scheduled despite security concerns.

Sri Lanka’s much-awaited tour of Pakistan starting later this month became doubtful after the Sri Lankan government raised security apprehensions but media reports on Wednesday have suggested that the Islanders will arrive in Pakistan later this month for the six-match limited-overs series in Lahore and Karachi.

While the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced details of tickets and their prices for the three-match ODI series and a similar T20 contests, Sri Lanka’s cricket board appeared hopeful of going ahead with its tour of Pakistan. However, Sri Lanka Cricket has said that it will await the final all-clear from the defence ministry.

Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Mohan de Silva said he was satisfied with the security arrangements of their hosts, but reports last week of a possible terror attack had been referred to the defence ministry for investigation.

The Sri Lanka team was the target of an attack during a Test match in Pakistan’s Lahore in March 2009. Six Sri Lankan players were injured when gunmen attacked their bus. Six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were killed.

Since the attack, a majority of international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country.

Sri Lanka played one T20 match against Pakistan at Lahore in October 2017. De Silva said: “Earlier last month I visited Pakistan along with our security consultant and we were satisfied with the arrangements.

“They have promised security reserved for a head of state.” The six-match tour, due to start on September 27, was put on hold last week after Sri Lanka’s prime minister’s office warned the board that it had unspecified information about a possible attack against its players.

Sri Lanka Cricket did not call off the tour, but instead asked the government to reassess the security situation and make a final determination about the fate of the tournament. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said it was not aware of any information relating to the safety of the Sri Lankan team, but has reiterated its commitment to provide security.

Ten senior players have opted out of the tour citing security concerns. Sri Lanka has already announced two squads for the three One-day Internationals in Karachi and the three T20 matches starting September 27. —with inputs from agencies

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