Sri Lanka keen to visit Pakistan in September for T20
COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka are keen to visit Pakistan in September, potentially becoming the first high-profile team to tour the country which has played most of its home international matches in the United Arab Emirates in the last eight years due to security situation.
Gunmen attacked a bus carrying Sri Lankan players in Lahore in 2009, wounding six players, and killing six security staff and two civilians.
Pakistan has since been largely starved of international cricket, apart from a short visit by Zimbabwe in 2015.
Their full series against Sri Lanka in the UAE may see the return of international cricket on home soil. “I am keen to take my team to Pakistan,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala said at the Asian Cricket Council’s annual general meeting in Colombo.
“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.”
The International Cricket Council also wants to support the tour of a World XI to Pakistan next month, subject to security clearance, for a three-match T20 series to help revive international cricket in the country.
Sumathipala called for support for Pakistan from the Asian neighbours.
“I call upon each one of you as members to play your role and give Pakistan the security of your support,” he added.
“There is always risk – there were two attacks in London during the Champions Trophy – but cricket continued under the security assurances of 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.”