Sri Lanka' Defence Ministry All-Clear Key For Cricket Team Tour To Pakistan

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 18 September 2019, 03:31 PM
Sri Lanka's tour to Pakistan is currently in a limbo after reports emerged that the team could be targeted by a possible terrorist attack. (Image credit: Twitter)
Sri Lanka's tour to Pakistan is currently in a limbo after reports emerged that the team could be targeted by a possible terrorist attack. (Image credit: Twitter)

Sri Lanka's tour to Pakistan for three ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals has already been in the news even before a ball has being bowled. Following the announcement of the tour, 10 senior Sri Lankan players, including Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews withdrew from the tour. The withdrawal of some key players prompted one Pakistan minister to tweet that India was behind coercing the players to withdraw from the tour. After those speculations were rubbished by the Sri Lanka sports minister, it all rests on the all-clear from the Sri Lanka Defence Ministry. 

Sri Lanka's cricket board remains hopeful of going ahead with its tour of Pakistan but will await the final all-clear from the defence ministry, an official said. The Cricket Board Secretary Mohan de Silva said he was satisfied with the security arrangements of their hosts, but reports last week of a possible terror attack had been referred to the defence ministry for investigation. In an interaction with AFP, de Silva said, "Earlier last month I visited Pakistan along with our security consultant and we were satisfied with the arrangements. They have promised security reserved for a head of state."

Sri Lanka played one T20 match against Pakistan at Lahore in October 2017 and it was their first encounter in Pakistan after eight years. In March 2009, the Sri Lanka team was the target of an attack during a Test match in Pakistan's Lahore.

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Six Sri Lankan players were injured when gunmen attacked their bus. Six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were killed. Since the attack, a majority of international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country.

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Sri Lanka Cricket did not call off the tour, but instead asked the government to reassess the security situation and make a final determination about the fate of the tour. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said it was not aware of any information relating to the safety of the Sri Lankan team, but has reiterated its commitment to provide security. Ten senior players have opted out of the tour citing security concerns. Sri Lanka has already announced two squads for the three One-Day Internationals and the three T20 matches starting September 27. 

First Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2019 03:28 PM
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