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    Pakistan series hangs in the balance

    August 11, 2019

    Ten years after their team bus was attacked by gunmen in Lahore, Sri Lanka may travel to Pakistan in October for a two-match Test series if satisfied with security for the visiting team.Board secretary Mohan de Silva, who headed the four-member team to Pakistan this week, said their cricketing neighbour has promised to provide the foolproof security accorded to Heads of State for the Sri Lankan cricketers in a bid to woo them to travel to Pakistan.

    The team included SLC’s Chief Security Adviser Marshal of the Air Force Roshan Goonetileke, Head of International Cricket Chandima Mapatuna, and Assistant Manager Anti-Corruption and Security Palitha Seneviratne. They met with several high-level officials in Pakistan to discuss the measures that would be taken.

    “They made a comprehensive presentation and we were very happy with it,” de Silva said. “So we will provide a report to the executive committee based on our findings and then decide whether to go ahead with the tour or not.”Even though Pakistan has hosted a few international limited-over matches since the 2009 terrorists attack on the Sri Lankan team bus which injured at least six players, no team has visited to play the longer format despite repeated appeals by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

    With Sri Lanka scheduled to meet Pakistan in a two-match Test series in October as part of the newly introduced Test Championships, the PCB made a request from their Sri Lankan counterpart to play the series in Pakistan instead of UAE which is their adopted home since the tragic incident.

    During the visit, the four-member SLC security assessment team met with top security officials in Karachi and visited National Stadium, the proposed venue for the first Test between the two teams. They also visited Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore and was given another round of briefings and presentations.

    Inspector General of Police (IGP) for Sindh, Kaleem Imam had briefed the visiting delegation about the security arrangements to be made during the Test series.

    “So we will now carry out a thorough assessment of security arrangements here also based on intelligence report and we will, thereafter, let the PCB know how we plan to take this forward,” de Silva added.

    Sri Lanka also play Pakistan in a white-ball cricket series and there’s a possibility of playing either ODI or T20 series in Pakistan the Test series doesn’t go ahead there. In 2017 Sri Lanka played a T20I match against Pakistan in Lahore but several top cricketers opted out citing security concerns.

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