An endeavor to rejuvenate international cricket in Pakistan has suffered yet another blow as the Sri Lankan cricket board has turned down an invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board to send its team to Lahore.
Forty contracted players of Sri Lankan team have handed a letter to the board indicating that they do not wish to travel to Lahore for the last T20I against Pakistan. They requested their board to move the match to a neutral venue.
Despite the success of the World XI tour of Pakistan, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan confirmed that after the suicide bomb attack in Lahore earlier this week, the Sri Lankan cricket authorities have refused to send their team for the T20 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,” said PCB Chairman.
“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 added.
International cricket was pulled out of Pakistan after the Sri Lankan team bus came under a terrorist attack earlier in 2009, outside Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore, injuring several players and support staff.
Although no lives of the Sri Lankan team were lost despite the deadly attack, Pakistan was deprived of international cricket afterward owing to security concerns.
There is still a possibility that the Lahore game could be played if SLC decides to send a second string team.
However, Pakistan Cricket Board is deliberately making efforts to bring international cricket back home and is hopeful for positive results in the near future.