The Sri Lanka Cricket Cricket Board (SLC) Wednesday decided to reassess the security situation ahead of the national team’s proposed Pakistan tour following the reports from the higher level regarding the security concerns.
The decision was taken during SLC emergency management committee meeting.
Later, the SLC issued a media statement that reads:
“Sri Lanka Cricket today sought the assistance of the Sri Lankan Government to conduct a ‘Reassessment’ of the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the National Team’s planned tour to Pakistan.
The decision was taken following a warning, the SLC received from the Prime Minister’s Office, sent via the Ministry of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports.
Accordingly, the warning highlights that the Prime Minister’s Office has received reliable information of a possible terrorist threat on the Sri Lankan team, while touring Pakistan.
Hence, SLC has been advised to take extreme care, and ‘reassess’ the situation, before embarking on the said tour.”
Sri Lanka and Pakistan were scheduled to play three ODI matches at Karachi National Stadium on September 27, 29 and October 2.
Even though several senior players refused to travel Pakistan, the SLC had chosen a relatively strong team for the ODI and T20I series with experienced Lahiru Thirimane and Dasun Shanaka were set to captain the sides respectively.
Until yesterday, everything was on track for the proposed tour, as even Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had started media accreditation for media personals of Sri Lanka.
However, a tweet from a Pakistani minister about the non-participation of Sri Lanka top players created an unwanted controversy and pressure, that forced SLC to reassess the tour.
Sri Lanka’s top players, including T20I skipper Lasith Malinga, and former captains Angelo Mathews besides Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella, have opted out of the tour starting September 27 to Pakistan, following a security briefing with the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board.
After this, Fawad Hussain Chaudhry, who is Pakistan’s Science and Technology Minister, said India threatened the players from Sri Lanka that if they travel to Pakistan, they would lose their IPL contracts.
It was a baseless statement, given the fact that how sincerely Sri Lanka Cricket were trying to help bringing back international cricket on the neighbor’s soil.
Even, Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando dismissed Chaudhry’s statement.
“No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan. Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident. Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel. We have a full strength team & we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan,” he tweeted on Tuesday night.