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Why Sri Lanka could refuse to travel to Pakistan for Tests

October 14, 2019 11:17 IST

'It's not easy. Process of going and coming is long. These were short games just five days. We can’t go and play a Test without a practice game.'

IMAGE: Sri Lanka's players on their arrival in Pakistan for the limited overs series last month. Photograph: PCB/Twitter

The PCB has expressed its disappointment at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Shammi Silva's remark that his team felt stifled by the strict security arrangements during their recently-concluded limited overs tour of Pakistan.

 

The Sri Lankan team played a three-match ODI series in Karachi followed by a three-match T20 series in Lahore, where they registered a historic 3-0 win over the top-ranked hosts.

On returning to Colombo, Silva had reportedly told the media that the Sri Lankan players were fed up of being confined to their hotel for three to four days in Pakistan.

"Players had to stay inside their hotel. I was there and though I stayed for 3-4 days, I got fed up (about it). We have to think about that and discuss with the players and support staff. We are playing the Test Championship and we want to do well in that too," Silva was quoted as saying by Island Cricket.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Selectors Asantha de Mel also told the newspaper that Sri Lanka are undecided about travelling to Pakistan for the World Test Championship. He stated that the process of travelling to and from the ground was long and exhausting, which will be hard to bear when playing a Test series, which is totally different to playing five short format games.

"It's not easy. Process of going and coming is long. These were short games just five days. We can’t go and play a Test without a practice game. So it will be at least 15 days travelling to the ground, which won’t be easy. They have to clear the roads, process of security arrangement takes long and then you aren’t allowed to move inside the bus," said de Mel.

"We owed something to Pakistan because they are there for us, because they always helped us. We were willing to bear that up (security hassle), but the problem is how much we could bear," he further added.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) source said top officials had communicated their displeasure with SLC after learning about Silva's comments.

"The PCB is very disappointed and hurt over such comments as presidential level security was provided to the visiting team on the insistence of their board. We wanted to make their stay as comfortable as possible," the source said.

The visitors were without 10 of their main players who opted out of the tour due to security concerns but the squad was accompanied by SLC president and Secretary and the Sri Lankan Sports Minister.

The source said the PCB has reminded Sri Lankan board officials that the players were given the option of going out to play golf and do some shopping while they were also entertained at official dinners and functions.

Silva's remarks have come as a surprise for the PCB which is keen to build on the recent tour and have the full Sri Lankan team play two Tests of the ICC World Championship in Pakistan in December.

The PCB is also trying to host the entire edition of the fifth Pakistan Super League in the country besides inviting Bangladesh to play its Test series in Pakistan.

The source added that although some strong security measures were in place for the visiting players but remarks such as they were "fed-up" after being confined to their hotel are not fair.

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