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Daily Online Edition of The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

11 September 2019

Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka were named Sri Lanka's one-day global and Twenty20 worldwide captains respectively for the upcoming tour of Pakistan after 10 players opted out of the series over security reasons.

Post the decision of the players to opt-out of the tour, Chaudhry, who is Pakistan's Science and Technology Minister, stated that it was India who was responsible for Sri Lanka players opting out of the tour. Following a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus during a Test match in Lahore in March 2009, a majority of worldwide teams have refused to tour the South Asian country. "Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they will be ousted from IPL if they don't refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities", Chaudhry had tweeted.

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Sri Lanka will play three ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals during their 13-day tour to Pakistan, which will take place under a heavy security blanket.

Sri Lanka never toured Pakistan following the attack.

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Sri Lanka's top players, which include T20I skipper Lasith Malinga, and former captains Angelo Mathews besides Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella, have all pulled out of the tour which starts on September 27 following a security briefing with the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board. In October 2017, Sri Lanka played a Twenty20 global in Lahore for the first time since a terror attack near the same venue in March 2009. Fernando added that the SLC respected the 10 players' decision to back out and hopes to beat Pakistan with a full-strength team.

The two cricketers are among the eight players who have refused to tour Pakistan due to security concerns. It is being considered another step towards the return of global cricket in Pakistan.

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In 2009, the Sri Lankan team were on their way to Gaddafi Stadium during the Test match with Pakistan when terrorists believed to be from Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) fired indiscriminately upon the bus. And Pakistan is also willing to provide the same security they give to heads of state for the players.

Daily Online Edition of The Sunday Times Sri Lanka