Pakistan Cricket Board requests Sri Lanka Cricket for a full series tour
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has reportedly written to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to tour the country for a full series this year.
Talking on the subject, a senior official of the PCB said, “We have written to them a few months back highlighting the fact that it would be a big boost for Pakistan cricket if they agreed to play the series as scheduled in Pakistan.”
The official added that the board had already started talking with SLC on scheduling the tour in October for which the government of Pakistan has also promised to foolproof security for the visiting team.
The government’s indication to provide VVIP security to the visiting teams came from Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who last week assured that there was no danger to any team visiting the country.
This week, SLC chairman Somachandra de Silva reiterated that cricket authorities in Sri Lanka were in contact with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and would make the final decision regarding the Pakistan tour based on input provided by the ICC and Sri Lanka’s own security team. He however, clarified that at the moment, Sri Lanka had no reservations in touring Pakistan. He expressed hope that the security situation in Pakistan would further improve in the coming days.
De Silva’s statements were lauded by his Pakistani counterpart Ejaz Butt who said, “The comments of Mr Silva are reassuring and will help a long way in helping restore the confidence of the international cricket community in playing cricket in Pakistan.” Butt told newsmen that Sri Lanka was like a brother nation which always stood by Pakistan during difficult times.
The PCB chairman expressed regret over the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team which took place two years ago in March 2009 when the team was touring Pakistan. Those were turbulent times in Pakistan’s history and the law and order situation had been worse than it had ever been. The Lankan bus was ambushed by terrorists en-route to the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore to play a match against the hosts.
Luckily, the driver steered the bus to safety avoiding any fatalities to the tourists. The attack injured seven Sri Lankans and eight Pakistanis lost their lives. The tourists were later airlifted back home and the remainder of the tour had been cancelled.
The incident had served a great blow to Pakistan cricket because since the attack, Pakistan has been a no-go area for foreign teams that have isolated the country in international cricket. Pakistan has not hosted any international tournament since March 2009 due to which the PCB has suffered a great deal financially. The tense law and order situation also forced the ICC to strip the hosting rights of the World Cup 2011 from Pakistan. Initially, Pakistan was to co-host the tournament with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
PCB desperately wants Sri Lanka to go ahead with the tour as it will help revive international tournaments in the cricket-crazy Pakistan.