Sri Lanka 'keen' to tour Pakistan for first time since 2009
Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 14 : Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala has said that he is "keen" to take his national team to Pakistan for the first time since their bus was attacked by gunmen in Lahore.No Test side has toured Pakistan since the March 2009 militants attack on the Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore, killing six Pakistani policemen and injuring some of the visiting players. However, low-ranked sides namely Afghanistan and Zimbabwe had toured the country for a limited-over series.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan are due to play each other in a full series that starts at the end of September. And as per an SLC release, Sri Lanka will play at least one of the three-T20 games in Lahore in September this year "if all logistical and operational plans fall in place".
Speaking at the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) AGM on Saturday, Sumathipala said, "I am keen to take my team to Pakistan."
"We have had our security experts visit and make an assessment, and things look positive with things improving all over the country and especially Lahore being cleared. We have three T20 games coming up against Pakistan in September and we would like to play at least one of those games in Lahore," ESPNcricinfo quoted him as saying.
"I call upon each one of you as members to play your role and give Pakistan the security of your support. There is always risk - there were two attacks in London during the Champions trophy, but cricket continued under the security assurances if the ICC, so likewise we too must be as accommodating and understanding as possible with our members and extend our fullest support to them as the cricketing family of Asia," he added.
However, despite Sumathipala's eagerness, it is not clear yet how Sri Lanka's players will react to the prospect of playing in Pakistan.
Since 2009, Pakistan have played most of their "home" games in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), although they hosted Australia in England in 2010.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is slated to send a World XI to Pakistan in September for three-match T20 series.