Thisara Perera on Saturday was announced as the captain of the Sri Lankan side for the three-match T20I series against Pakistan. After regular skipper Upul Tharanga opted out of the series a he wasn’t ready to travel to Lahore, another skipper had to be announced given the insistence of the Sri Lankan Board only to send one team for three games of the series. While the first two matches will be played in Abu Dhabi on 26th and 27th October, the teams will travel to Lahore to finish off the tour on 29th October.

“I am really happy,” an overjoyed Perera was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz after the announcement of his appointment.

“I’m really proud of myself because everyone has a dream to be a captain anywhere. This was my dream, and it has come true. I’m really happy at the moment.”

It was no surprise that some of the Sri Lankan players had reservations from travelling to Pakistan especially after the terrorist attack on their team bus during the infamous tour in 2009.

From the current ODI series who are currently 0-4 down in the series, most of the members were unwilling to travel to Lahore. Fast bowler Lasith Malinga had even requested the board to pick two different teams for the first two T20I’s and the final T20I in Lahore, but the board dismissed the idea saying that the players can’t pick and choose games they want to play.

Sri Lanka, Interim Coach, Nic Pothas, Physio, Nirmalan Dhanabalasingham, Nic Lee, Asanka Gurusinha, Sri Lanka Cricket
Perera, who has been part of World XI will lead Lions at Gaddafi Stadium. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

From the current ODI squad, only six members will be travelling to Lahore while other A team members were called up from the Caribbean shores. Dilshan Munaweera, Isuru Udana and Chathuranga de Silva who are regular features in the national team in the shortest format were named in the squad.

“I’m happy with the squad because everyone can bat and bowl. In T20 matches we need part-time bowlers and big hitters. I think this team we can do something special this series,” said Thisara, who will want to turn things around for Sri Lanka after a dismal outing in the one-day series. When asked if missing out on the big names was a concern, he was optimistic in his response: “Yes, actually we had a good bunch of players in the country. Never mind because I got new talents. Hopefully, we will do our best for our country with my team.”

In September, a World XI team led by Faf du Plessis was sent to Pakistan for a three-match T2OI series and Thisara Perera was the only Sri Lankan who was part of the team. Players from across 7-8 nations took part in the match, so Perera had the opportunity to witness himself the level of security in the country. He was satisfied with the efforts put in by the Pakistan Cricket Board towards pulling off an international level series without any issues owing to security.

Thisara Perera Elated to Lead Sri Lanka in the T20I Series Against Pakistan 1
Sri Lanka’s bowler Thisara Perera celebrates the dismissal of Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik during their second ODI cricket match in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

“I was really happy with that security because we went for a three-match series,” said Thisara. “Unluckily we lost the series, but we were really impressed by security because everyone enjoyed (themselves). I think 7-8 countries participated there. I’m really satisfied with the security,” he added.

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