Will Sri Lanka play Test cricket in Pakistan?
Test cricket could be set for a return to Pakistan after 10 years, with Sri Lanka planning to play a Test in the nation, later this year. The development comes after Lanka reportedly received positive information regarding the security situation in Lahore and Karachi. Incidentally, Lankans were the last ones to play a Test in Pakistan. Here is more on this development.
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.
The development comes ahead of Pakistan's upcoming home series against Lanka for the World Test Championship. While it was scheduled to be held in UAE, SLC's security delegation positively assessed the security situations in Lahore and Karachi. "We'll be talking to the PCB about some alternatives before we arrive at a decision. The government will be consulted as well," said SLC's security delegation official.
Notably, the security situation has certainly improved in Pakistan over the past four years. The board has also successfully hosted the PSL final of the last three seasons in Pakistan, providing the highest-level security to the players. Since 2015, three nations in the form of Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Windies, along with ICC World XI, have played in Pakistan, giving the fans some hope.
While Lanka's decision to play Test in Pakistan comes as a shock to quite a few, it is certainly positive news for Pakistan and its fans. Moreover, this is more of a reciprocal gesture by SLC. Notably, the Pakistani board was the first to send a team to Sri Lanka, following the April bombings, earlier this year.
Meanwhile, following the improved security situation, PCB's managing director Wasim Khan has presented a case to the MCC World Cricket Committee and even invited them for a match in Pakistan. "They wanted to me to present on the current security in the country, along with what impact playing no international cricket here has had, and what can be done to restore it," said Wasim.
"I am very, very confident that we will have an MCC team touring us in the near future. There are some matters related to security that need to be covered before they send their team. We will work very closely with the MCC," added Wasim.