KARACHI: Sri Lanka’s cricket team reached Karachi Tuesday for their limited-overs series, with the government promising to give it the same level of security as a head of state.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan will host three one-day internationals on Sept. 27, 29 and Oct. 2. Those will be followed by three Twenty20s in Lahore – the city where the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by terrorists in 2009.
Before departure for Pakistan, Sri Lanka’s squad left expressed confidence in security promises by Pakistan.
The visitors were welcomed at the airport by Director International Cricket Operations, Zakir Khan, and other officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board. The visiting players were taken to a state lounge after disembarking the aircraft. Officials of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) are also accompanying the team on the tour.
Sri Lankan team was scheduled to have first practice session at Karachi’s National Stadium on Wednesday evening before taking on Pakistan in the first ODI at the same venue two days later. But the PCB said in a statement that the Sri Lankan team has opted out from the practice and also would not hold the press conference as has been earlier announced.
Sri Lanka’s 10 top players have opted out of the tour
However, Pakistan team will hold their practice session as per the schedule on Wednesday and head coach Misbahul Haq will also attend a press conference.
Lahiru Thirimanne is leading Sri Lanka’s ODI team, whilst Dasun Shanaka will captain the side in the three match T20I series.
Captain of the Twenty20 squad, Dasun Shanaka, said he had no misgivings about returning to Pakistan after they played a Twenty20 international in Lahore in October 2017, their first since the 2009 attack.
“I have been there before,” Shanaka told reporters just before the team left Colombo where they were blessed by saffron-robed Buddhist monks.
“I am satisfied with the security arranged for us and I am happy to lead my team to Pakistan. We hope to give a good fight to our very strong hosts.”
ODI skipper Lahiru Thirimanne said he also had no concerns and they had been given assurances of a very high degree of protection in Pakistan, usually reserved for visits by heads of state.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board received the all-clear from the defence ministry last week to go ahead with the tour after establishing that there was no threat.