Sri Lanka coach says Pakistan tour ‘a message for the whole world’
LAHORE – Praising the hospitality and security his team received in the country, Sri Lanka coach Rumesh Ratnayake called the just-concluded tour of Pakistan ‘a message for the whole world’, and hoped the series would encourage other countries to visit these shores in the future.
Sri Lanka toured Pakistan for a full bilateral series for the first time in a decade, since the 2009 attack on the team bus in Lahore. In the interim, Pakistan has hosted just three other sides – two Twenty20 Internationals and three one-day internationals against Zimbabwe in 2015, a three-match T20I series against an ICC World XI in 2017, a solitary T20I against the same opposition in 2017 as part of their tour of United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, and finally a three-match T20I series against West Indies last year.
“This tour is a message for the whole world, and especially a message for future Sri Lankans,” Ratnayake said. “This has gone very smoothly. Us playing here will encourage so many other countries to also to be here.
“To experience the hospitality of Pakistan is a great thing. I’ve experienced it after a long, long time, and if anything, it’s got even better. It was a lot of hard work for the whole system to have us here.
“You’ve done a great job in having us here and the security has been impeccable. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, even though some of us came in doubt. But the doubt has been taken out now, so I would like to thank you all for making it happen.”
Sri Lanka were originally scheduled to play two Tests in Pakistan, but with several high-profile players expressing their reservations against travelling and World Test Championship points at stake, the cricket boards of the two countries came to an agreement to make it a limited-overs meeting instead.
Pakistan won both the one-dayers after the first game was washed out due to rain, but Sri Lanka bounced back to make things even by sweeping the T20Is 3-0.
Ratnayake stated that the prospects of eventually playing Test cricket in the country seemed better after the top-notch security arrangement provided to the team this time.
“We’ll certainly explain that to them [the players] and they’ll have seen it as well,” he said. “We’ll try and convince them as much as we can, but we cannot enforce anything. Hopefully, they’ve changed by seeing this series be so successful. The crowd has been the same as 30 years ago, it hasn’t changed. It was very touching when they were holding up signs saying, ‘Welcome Sri Lanka’, and it was very moving to see that affection from the people.”–ICC