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October 11, 2019

Sri Lankan triumph


October 11, 2019

Sri Lanka gained its first ever T-20 whitewash by defeating Pakistan 3-0 in the T-20 series between the teams. Sri Lanka had lost the one-day series. Sri Lanka established an empathic win in Lahore on Wednesday when Pakistan were unable to reach the modest target of 148 runs despite a heroic 52 in 50 balls from Haris Sohail. Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga took three for 21 to destroy Pakistan’s innings. The Sri Lankan victory, despite lacking ten of their top players, should make Pakistan think about its consistency and depth.

While Pakistan undoubtedly possesses many talented players, their uncertain performances are holding back the team from asserting itself as among the top cricketing nations in the world. At present, Pakistan ranks at first place only in the T-20 version of the game, which some experts say does not adequately test ability or strategy. The loss was a huge disappointment for the crowds filling the Gaddafi Stadium, many of whom had waited for hours to view the match given the extremely tough security cordon thrown around the venue. On their last visit to Pakistan in 2009, a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team had injured several of its players and led to a ban on international cricket in the country. This has badly damaged the growth of Pakistan’s cricket and its opportunities to play with the world’s best.

Nevertheless, the return of international cricket to Pakistan in at least some form is welcome. Watching the stadiums in some of Pakistan’s cities fill again as they had done in the past is a truly wonderful sight. Cricket is a key form of entertainment for people from all sections of society in Pakistan and it is important that the game be kept alive in the country. Sport also unifies nations and builds within them pride and cohesion. Having said this, we need to acknowledge that the security required to host such events greatly inconvenienced citizens for three to five days. Roads were cut off, blocking traffic in parts of both cities. This is something we will need to look at. It is true we must build confidence so that more teams agree to visit Pakistan. But ways can be found to do this without putting citizens through so much tumult, perhaps by setting up designated routes and ensuring policemen on duty are able to guide drivers so that both life and cricket can exist simultaneously.

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