Sri Lankan cricket squad leaves for Pakistan despite security concerns
The Sri Lankan men's cricket squad has left for the tour of Pakistan despite security concerns. The Lankan team is travelling after security promises made by the hosts despite reports that the team could be targeted by militants. As many as 10 cricketers opted out of the tour citing security reasons. Here's more on the same.
Sri Lanka National team left SLC head quarters this morning to embark on their tour to Pakistan.— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) September 24, 2019
Sri Lanka will play a three-match ODI series in Karachi and three T20Is in Lahore. #PAKvSL pic.twitter.com/tiaTSxgpNh
It was in 2009 when the touring Sri Lankan team was attacked in Lahore. Since then most international teams have refused to tour Pakistan, leaving Pakistan to play nearly all their "home" games in the United Arab Emirates. The 2009 attack left six cricketers injured when gunmen attacked their bus. Meanwhile, six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were killed.
Earlier, 10 Lankan players including the likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews opted out of the tour citing security concerns. However, this was despite the assurances of state-level security by the Pakistani authorities. Last Thursday, Sri Lankan cricket board confirmed that it will go ahead with its tour of Pakistan. SLC said it got the green light from the defence ministry.
Lanka's T20I captain Dasun Shanaka said he was satisfied with the security arrangements and wants his side to give a good fight. "I have been there before. I am satisfied with the security arranged for us and I am happy to lead my team to Pakistan. We hope to give a good fight to our very strong hosts," he said.
The two teams gear up for three ODIs set to start from September 27 onwards. All the three ODIs will be held in Karachi. The three-match T20I series will start from October 5 onwards. Both teams will want to play solid cricket and show their credentials. Pakistan will begin their campaign under new coach Misbah-ul-Haq. They will want to win at home.