Sri Lanka squad departed for Pakistan despite security concerns
Sri Lanka exhausted national cricket squad departed for Pakistan on Tuesday expressing confidence in the hosts’ security promises despite reports that militants could target the team.
The Sri Lanka team was attacked in Lahore in 2009. Since then, most international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country, leaving Pakistan to play almost all of their “at home” games in the United Arab Emirates.
Ten high-level players who cite security concerns have opted out of the tour comprising three one-day international matches and three Twenty20 matches starting Friday.
However, Twenty20 squadron captain Dasun Shanaka said Tuesday that he had no doubts about returning to Pakistan after they played a Twenty20 international in Lahore on October 2017, the first since the 2009 attack.
I’ve been there before, Shanaka told the reporters just before the team left Colombo, where they were blessed by saffron-clad Buddhist monks.
“I am satisfied with the organized security for us and am happy to take my team to Pakistan. We hope to give a good fight to our powerful hosts.”
ODI patron Lahiru Thirimanne said he had no concerns either and had been assured of a high degree of protection in Pakistan, usually reserved for visits by heads of state.
The Sri Lanka cricket board received the approval of the defence ministry last week to continue the tour after establishing that there was no threat.
The 2009 attack left six players injured when shooters attacked his bus. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed.
ODI (all in Karachi): 27 and 29 September, 2 October.
T20I (all Lahore): 5, 7 and 9 October