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Presidential level security greets Sri Lankan team in Pakistan

Last updated on: September 24, 2019 23:14 IST

IMAGE: Sri Lankan cricketers arrive in Karachi. Photograph: PCB/Twitter

A warm welcome and a presidential level security greeted the Sri Lankan cricket team as it arrived in Karachi on Tuesday for the upcoming limited overs engagements against Pakistan.

 

The Sri Lankan team, which arrived hours after a delegation of its security experts had checked in, was taken directly from the old Karachi airport tarmac to the VIP lounge amid heavy security.

They were then driven in bullet proof coasters and cars to the hotel as heavy rains lashed the city.

Sri Lanka will play three one-day internationals in Karachi on September 27 and 29 and October 3 before moving to Lahore for a three-match T20 series that concludes on October 9.

10 leading Sri Lankan players, including their national T20 captain Lasith Malinga and national ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratna, have not come on the tour citing security concerns.

On Tuesday, the paramilitary rangers and police officials also took charge of the security in and around the National stadium, where the ODI matches will be played.

The Pakistan team has also reached the city from Lahore, where it was undergoing a training camp.

This is the first time since 2009 that a Test nation is touring Pakistan for a full-fledged limited over series spanning nearly two weeks.

In 2017 and 2018, the PCB managed to get a ICC World XI to play a T20 series in Lahore and then also convinced Sri Lanka to play a lone T20 match in the same city.

Last year, a weakened West Indies side also played three T20 matches in Karachi but again stayed in the city for only five days.

Sri Lanka team leave for Pakistan despite security concerns

Sri Lanka

IMAGE: The team were blessed by saffron-robed Buddhist monks. Photographs: SLC/Twitter

Sri Lanka's national cricket squad left for Pakistan on Tuesday expressing confidence in security promises by the hosts despite reports that the team could be targeted by militants.

The Tour includes three ODIs in Karachi and three T20 internationals in Lahore.

Sri Lanka Cricket announced that 10 of its main players including ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne and national T20 skipper Lasith Malinga pulled out due to security concerns.

Sri Lanka

But the captain of the Twenty20 squad, Dasun Shanaka, said Tuesday 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.

Since then most international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country, leaving Pakistan to play nearly all their 'home' games in the United Arab Emirates.

The team left Colombo where they were blessed by saffron-robed Buddhist monks.

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.

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