At least seven Sri Lankan players have shown a cold shoulder to play in Pakistan in the final Twenty20 fixture which has been scheduled in Lahore on October 29 after World XI’s successful tour.
The list now got longer as interim coach Nic Pothas and Sri Lanka Cricket Rehabilitation, and Training Manager Nirmalan Dhanabalasingham joined the list.
“Nic has informed the board that he is definitely not going to Lahore,” Cricbuzz quoted SLC Asanka Gurusinha.
In September, last month, Pakistan hosted three-match Twenty20 series of Independence Cup 2017 in between hosts Pakistan and World XI-led by which was eventually won by Sarfraz Ahmed-led side by 2-1.
It becomes pertinent, the Physiotherapist for Lions Dhanabalasingham also hinted for pulling out of the One-off T20 fixture in Pakistan.
“The physiotherapist Nirmalan Dhanabalasingham has also indicated that he is not going (to Pakistan),” Gurusinha maintained.
Moreover, Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga has already stated about his unavailability for the national side before SLC on October 16 decided to send its national side – to Pakistan following going through the extensive security-related document while having the access through the world cricket body International Cricket Council (ICC).
The other players who showed reluctance for travelling to Pakistan were senior campaigner Lasith Malinga, Chamara Kapugedera followed by Suranga and wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella.
On the other side, Kapugedera and Lakmal were part of the then Lankan squad as they have still fear instilled in them.
Among other support staff member for Lanka, Nic Lee is considering to think about his visit as Gurusinha made it clear by stating he is all set to fly Pakistan.
“The trainer Nic Lee is still contemplating what to do. But six other support staff including myself are definitely going,” Gurusinha concluded.
So much so, Lankan cricket board was already in talks with its players to feature in the solitary game on Pakistan soil.
Board also endorsed its rigid stance while stating the players who are not willing to travel Pakistan will miss out the three-match series.
The cricket administration has announced 15-member squad for the three-match while announcing all-round Thisara Perera as a skipper for the T20 series which will kick-off from October 26.
Earlier, this month at least 40 Lankan players were hesitant to feature in the eagerly-awaited game while signing a letter before dispatching it to the Board President Thilanga Sumathipala.
In 2009, the then contracted players of Sri Lanka came under gruesome attack when the terrorist strike on their team bus at Liberty Chowk in Lahore which further forced Pakistan to entertain the United Arab Emirates as their second home.
The first two matches will be played at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi before the Lions will fly Pakistan for a 24-hour stay in Pakistan.
Concurrently, Pakistan is leading five-match One-day international series 4-0 with final ODI scheduled at Sharjah on October 23.