Why Sri Lanka players have opted out of Pakistan tour?
Sri Lanka are scheduled to tour Pakistan for a limited-overs series, involving three ODIs and T20Is each, from September 27. However, it has been reported that as many as 10 first team players have opted out of the tour. As for the reason for opting out, Pakistan have blamed India for influencing the Lankan players. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka cleared the air.
Pakistan federal minister claims India influencing Lanka players
Recently, Pakstan's federal minister Fawad Chaudhry had claimed that India have influenced Lankan players to pull out of the tour of Pakistan, threatening them to cost their spot in the IPL. "Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they'll be ousted from IPL if they don't refuse Pak visit," said Fawad.
Fawad Chaudhry blames India for influencing Lankan players
Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ll be ousted from IPL if they don’t refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 10, 2019
Lanka players opt out citing security concerns: SL Sports Minister
"No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan. Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident. Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel," said Harin Fernando, Sri Lanka's Sports Minister.
Harin Fernando rubbishes claims of India influencing Lankan players
No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan.Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident. Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel. We have a full strength team we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan— Harin Fernando (@fernandoharin) September 10, 2019
10 Lankan players withdraw from Pakistan tour
As of now, a total of 10 players, including T20I skipper Lasith Malinga and ODI skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, have opted out for the very reason of security. The other players are Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal and Dinesh Chandimal. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) would only select players willing to travel to Pakistan.
Competitive cricket in Pakistan has suffered following 2009 terror attack
International cricket in Pakistan has been hit badly since 2009, following the horrific terror attack on the touring Sri Lankan team. The attack saw seven Lankan players getting injured, along with assistant coach Paul Farbrace and umpire Ahsan Raza. The tour was immediately abandoned, while the tournaments involving international cricketers came to a standstill in the cricket-crazy nation.
International cricket slowly resuming in Pakistan, with other teams touring
Meanwhile, security situations have improved in Pakistan over the years, as teams have toured since the 2009 attack. Teams like Zimbabwe, Windies and even Lanka have toured in the recent years, alongside a World XI team, which toured in 2017. Moreover, PCB has promised presidential level security for all the touring teams, as the recent tours have been successful.