Sri Lanka Series to Go Ahead Despite Top Players Opting Out: PCB

Lasith Malinga was among the ten star players to withdraw from the tour to Pakistan citing security issues

Lasith Malinga was among the ten star players to withdraw from the tour to Pakistan citing security issues

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and experienced players Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews are among the top ten players who have chosen to opt out of his side's upcoming tour to Pakistan citing security concerns.

Sri Lanka are due to play three ODIs and three T20 matches across September and October, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed the tour would go ahead regardless. SLC president Shammi Silva said Karunaratne would be replaced by 30-year-old Lahiru Thirimanne as ODI skipper, while the T20 team is expected to be guided by Dasun Shanaka.

Roshan Gunathilaka, the Sri Lanka Cricket security adviser and former air force chief, briefed the players on the security situation in Pakistan, and the security arrangements made by the PCB.

Sri Lanka are also to play two Test matches against Pakistan, but the dates and the venue are yet to be announced.

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The families of the three players are said to be uncomfortable with the prospect of them playing in Pakistan which is understandable since it was in March, 2009 that terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, leading to Pakistan's isolation as as an global cricket destination.

Pakistan's hopes for Test cricket to return to the country have suffered a substantial blow, as ten prominent Sri Lanka cricketers have refused to travel to the country for the forthcoming limited-overs tour. The country has successfully hosted Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches, an ICC World XI in 2017 and West Indies in 2018 and Sri Lanka for a one-off T20 in 2017.

In response to the development, the PCB in a statement said that the participation or non-participation of senior players does not matter as the Sri Lankan team is nevertheless arriving for a complete tour. The Sri Lankans are set to review the security arrangements for the coming limited over series based on which they would then take a decision on whether to play the Tests in December in Pakistan or in the UAE.

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