10 Sri Lanka team players opt out of Pakistan tour’19

Pakistan’s woes of dearth of international cricket in the region, seem to receive yet another blow as ten Sri Lanka cricketers have reportedly opted out of the playing squad scheduled to tour Pakistan for the upcoming series, citing security concerns.

The decision comes in after the team meeting was held by the Sri Lanka cricket board with the players of the national team on Monday. Lasith Malinga, Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews are amongst the players who have opted out. Sri Lanka were scheduled to play a bilateral series in Pakistan, including 3 ODIs and 3 T20i, between September 27th and October 9th 2019.

According to the reports, families of Sri Lankan players are apparently uncomfortable with the idea of their star players playing in Pakistan. With the pulling out of star players diminishing the anticipated excitement of the series, PCB has reportedly said that they would accept whatever team Sri Lanka board sends to Pakistan and are efficiently preparing to host them in Karachi and Lahore.

Former Sri Lanka Air Force commander, Marshal Air Roshan Goonetileke, who is the chief security advisor for the Sri Lanka board, briefed the players about the security measures taken by PCB for the forthcoming series. Chairman of the national selection panel, Mr. Asantha De Mel, explained about the selection policy for the upcoming tours.

He said, “Players will be given the freedom to decide on either taking part or not in the forthcoming Pakistan tour. Accordingly, the following players chose to stay away from the upcoming Pakistan series – Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne.”

Since the unfortunate terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team in 2009, Pakistan has not hosted a high-profile team for a full length tour. In October 2017, team Sri Lanka came down to Lahore for a lone T20i match while ICC world XI and West Indies also visited Pakistan to play short T20 series in the last two years.

SLC and PCB were in agreement to play the limited over series in Pakistan. However, SLC had initially rejected the request of playing the two test matches in Pakistan, which are the part of ICC World Test Championship. PCB still awaits the decision of SLC to play the test matches in Pakistan or UAE.

 

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