The upcoming Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan received a big jolt when as many as 10 Sri Lankan players decided against going to Pakistan. The list includes their ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne, T20I captain Lasith Malinga. Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal and Dinesh Chandimal are other eight players who have refused to travel Pakistan.
While there has been no official word yet, a report in PTI suggests that the series is still on, which means that the Sri Lankan team will travel to Pakistan for the series.
“We understand the situation the Sri Lankan board is facing and we know they can’t force any of their players to come for the tour which still remains very important for us,” PCB official told PTI.
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“If this tour is successful, then just think on what grounds would the Sri Lankan board or even the Bangladesh cricket board not agree to play the ICC World Test Championship matches in Pakistan. Regardless of which player (s) are coming the fact is it is the Sri Lankan national team which will tour Pakistan from this month and that is what matters to the board,” he added.
With top players backing out of the tour, it is almost certain that the Sri Lankan selectors are left with minimal choices to select from and the team that will be travelling to Pakistan will be a second-string team. The same was the case with West Indies last year.
With the top players backing out of the tour, the visitors sent a third-string team to Pakistan. The team reached the country just 24 hours before the 1st T20I.
Interestingly, the list of Sri Lankan players who have backed out from the tour also includes the name of Thisara Perera, who has played cricket there in past three years. He was also part of the one-off T20I in Pakistan when many Sri Lankan players had backed out from the tour.
It remains to be seen if the series is still on course or not. As per the schedule, the two teams will play three ODIs and three T20Is from September 27 to October 9.
The three ODIs are scheduled to be played on September 27, 29 and October 3 in Karachi. The three T20Is will be played on October 5, 7 and 9 in Lahore.
Should the Sri Lanka cricket go head with the tour, the visitors will have new captains across format.