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Sri Lanka refuse to play in Pakistan following Lahore blast

Source: PTI
July 28, 2017 10:55 IST
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The Sri Lankan cricket board has turned down an invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board to send its team to Lahore to play two T20 International matches at the start of its home series in October.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan confirmed that after the suicide bomb attack in Lahore earlier this week, the Sri Lankan cricket authorities has refused to send their team for the T20 matches.

"I had spoken to my Sri Lankan cricket counterpart during the ICC meetings and I had invited him to send his team to Lahore to play the T20 matches and start the series against Pakistan with rest of matches to be played in the UAE," Khan said.

He said he had been given assurance by Cricket Sri Lanka boss that he would speak to his government and get clearance for the matches.

"I am a bit surprised at Sri Lankan's refusal because terror attacks are happening everywhere in the world and sports events are still going on. It is unfair to just single out Pakistan for security reasons."

Khan said the PCB had successfully held the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore in March and provided top security for the event.

"The ICC and other security experts of cricket boards had come to Lahore to see for themselves the security arrangements and some shortcomings were pointed out which we promised to resolve but overall they were all satisfied with the way security was provided for the final," he said.

It was Sri Lanka's team which had come under attack from militants in March, 2009 in Lahore after which no top Test team has toured Pakistan because of security concerns and the PCB has been forced to hold its home series in the United Arab Emirates.

Recently, Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara claimed that the team was sent to Pakistan in 2009 by the Sri Lankan authorities despite serious reservations expressed by the players over the security situation in Pakistan.

He has called for an inquiry to find out who was behind forcing the team to travel to Pakistan in those conditions.

Khan said that Pakistan will play two Tests in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and five One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka in October-November in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

The PCB chief also conceded that after the latest terror attack in Lahore there had been no word from Giles Clarke or the International Cricket Council on the planned tour by the World XI to Pakistan from September 12.

"I met Giles Clarke recently in London and we finalized the budget details and other aspects of the World XI tour but since the attack took place we don't know the situation. But we are confident that the tour will go ahead eventually," he added.

Khan said that Clarke had told him that former Zimbabwean Test player  Andy Flower had been speaking to the agents of players being lined up for the World XI tour.

Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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