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Asanka Gurusinha, Sri Lanka’s Cricket Manager, has insisted Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is trying to include as many top players as possible in the squad for the final T20 International scheduled in Lahore on October 29.
No country except Zimbabwe in 2015 had visited Pakistan since 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus when the players were heading towards the Gadaffi Stadium.
However, the condition is taking a turn for good this year with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) joining hands to revive international cricket in the country.
Earlier, the final of the Pakistan Super League got hosted in Lahore and a recently a World XI side visited the country for a three-match T20I series. Buoyed by the successful hosting, PCB invited SLC for one T20I in Lahore, and although the latter had accepted the proposal, the players are not keen to visit the country.
With 40 contracted players writing to the board, expressing their concerns, it should be interesting to see the squad Sri Lanka announce and Gurusinha has said the board is trying its best to name a full-strength team.
“SLC will be speaking to most of the players to find the best way forward. It seems like we will be there in Lahore for less than 24 hours. We are flying in and flying out. We are hoping that some of the players who had concerns will seriously look at it,” Gurusinha told Cricbuzz. “There are a lot of positives taking place I should say. It is not nice to name the players, but there was positive feedback from certain players.”
SLC, nonetheless, has suffered a big blow in their pursuit of sending a strong team to Pakistan, as captain Upul Tharanga has pulled out of the contest that will conclude the ongoing tour which is currently taking place in the UAE.
“We have to look at both sides. SLC wanted security clearance, and once that is done, the board has to send the players. SLC now will tell the selectors the process that should take place. It is a tough choice for the players. The players will seriously look at it and hopeful they will look at it favourably,” Gurusinha said.
Gurusinha also recalled the year 1996 when a deadly bomb blast had put Sri Lanka in a spot of bother, as they were in danger of having all their World Cup group games shifted away from home after Australia and West Indies refused to tour the country.
However, Sri Lanka went on to host Kenya and Zimbabwe at home after a joint India-Pakistan team played the Islanders in a friendly match.
“Pakistan players came down to help us two weeks after the Central Bank bombing when we were in trouble in 1996. Had they not come down, I am not too sure whether Kenya and Zimbabwe would have honoured their World Cup fixtures in Colombo,” Gurusinha recalled.