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Sports round-up, PSL 2018, Peshwar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Lahore
Peshawar Zalmi are eyeing to retain the coveted PSL title. Photo Credit: PSL/PCB.

Here’s the daily sports round-up from around the globe on 21st March 2018

Here is Sportzwiki’s daily sports round-up which features prime news from around the world, on 21st of March 2018. It’s further about sporting events like cricket, football, and badminton which has already grabbed the attention of all the sports enthusiasts.

Peshawar Zalmi claims a thrilling Eliminator 1 –

Sports round-up, PSL 2018, Peshwar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Lahore
Peshawar Zalmi to face Karachi Kings on Wednesday in an Eliminator 2. Photo Credit: PSL/PCB.

Defending champions Peshawar Zalmi held nerve to seal the Eliminator 1 of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Lahore. In a heart-racing thriller, Sarfraz Ahmed-led Quetta Gladiators fell short by just a run when Anwar Ali smoked three sixes and a boundary in Liam Dawson’s over.

Chasing down the target of 158 in 20 allotted overs, Sarfraz alongside Mohammad Nawaz smashed 35 each, but it was Ali who kept the Gladiators in the hunt. He smashed 14-ball 28 at the strike-rate of exactly 200.

With the one-run win, Zalmi are through to the Eliminator 2, as Quetta innings was stalled at 156 for nine in 20 overs.

Darren Sammy-led side will face Karachi Kings on March 21 at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Hasan Ali was adjudged Man of the Match for his figures of two for 21 in four overs.

Starbucks food has been banned inside England football team hotel –

Sports round-up, PSL 2018, Peshwar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Lahore, Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate bans Starbucks food for England team. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Reports revealed Starbucks food has been banned inside England team hotel which further includes sweeteners.

According to the ESPN FC, England head coach Gareth Southgate is giving his best to prepare for the World Cup campaign. The World Cup is slated to kick off in June this in Russia.

Pertinently, the Starbucks cafe is serving the food at the National Football Centre within the premises of Hilton Hotel.

England is currently preparing at St George’s Park before facing off in friendly fixtures against Netherlands and Italy respectively.

As per the menu while the ban is being imposed muffins and sandwiches have been removed. However, tea, coffee, and water has been made available owing to the get-together of England.

“Starbucks are not allowed to serve food in the cafe while the players are staying at the hotel,” ESPN FC quotes a source.

French Open prize money extended to whopping $48 million –

Sports round-up, PSL 2018, Peshwar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Lahore, Gareth Southgate, Paris Open, Roland Garros
Roland Garros is considered as the toughest of the competitions in Tennis. Photo Credit: Reuters.

The Fresh Open is scheduled to kick off on May 27, but the governing committee has increased the prize money by eight percent. Moreover, the total prize will be around $48 million.

Guy Forget, who is the director for Roland Garros revealed the winners of men’s and women’s tournament will take away home $2.7 million each. The finals will be held on June 10.

Cristiano Ronaldo happy with kit suppliers –

The Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo is excited about the ‘power boots’ which is set to be available in the stores from March 22 (Thursday). He is fondly known as CR7.

Regarding the footwear, the boots have been referred as ‘El Comandante’.

The words are further understood as ‘leader’ and ‘power’ as Ronaldo cherishes the name owing to the history.

This is all for the sportzwiki’s sports round-up

Further, here’s the newsfeed:

Indian chess Olympiad team starts training for medal playing TT

PSL final

Karachi To Host 2018 PSL Final, Lahore To Host Eliminators

For the second year in a row, the final of the Pakistan Super League will be held in Pakistan; the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Thursday (December 7). But unlike the last edition, the final will be held in Karachi and not Lahore on March 25.

The third edition of the tournament will start on February 22 in Dubai where defending champions Peshawar Zalmi will be locking horns against newly-inducted side Multan Sultans. All the league games will be played in the United Arabia Emirates with Dubai and  Sharjah being the venues for all the games.

Karachi To Host 2018 PSL Final, Lahore To Host Eliminators 1
The last season’s final was held in Lahore (Credits: AP)

Meanwhile, the eliminators will also be played in Pakistan with Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium being the venue. The Qualifier, however, will be played in Dubai.

“PSL 3 will kick start with a glittering opening ceremony at the Dubai International Stadium followed by a star-studded Peshawar Zalmi taking on league debutants Multan Sultans, on 22nd Feb,” the PCB said in a release.

“Teams will play twice against each other before the top four teams qualify for the play-off stage. Fans will get a chance to see their favourite stars in a total of 34 games played across four venues.

“Efforts are underway to stage two playoff games in Lahore followed by what would be a historic PSL final in Karachi,” it added.

With the league entering its third season, PCB chairman Najam Sethi is hopeful of a good reaction from the fans.

“Pakistan Super League has grown to become a great platform for us to showcase Pakistani cricketing talent across the world. I am confident that fans will come to the stadiums in great numbers and that they will tune into our high-quality HBL PSL broadcast on TV and digital platforms,” Sethi said.

Meanwhile, three matches in Pakistan will further boost the country’s chances of resuming international cricket at home on a full scale. Barring the exception of Zimbabwe in 2015, no international team had visited Pakistan since 2009 until the ongoing year due to security reasons.  However, things have looked promising since the final of the PSL was hosted in Lahore. A couple of months ago a World XI side visited the country for a three-match T20I series before Sri Lanka arrived in the country to play last of the three-match T20I series in Lahore.

Karachi To Host 2018 PSL Final, Lahore To Host Eliminators 2
Pakistan hosted a World XI side for a three-match T20I series (Credits: AFP)

Video of the day:

Windies, Pakistan, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Smog, Cancelled, T20Is Series, Bangladesh Premier League, Sri Lanka, ICC World XI
Previously in May this year Pakistan clinch three-match T20I series by 2-1 against Windies on Caribbean Soil. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Smog Spoils Windies Tour to Pakistan for T20Is

As the thick blanket of smog has choked metropolitan city, Lahore of Pakistan since the beginning of November, the Windies historic tour to Pakistan has been canceled until next year, according to the fresh reports.

The sources revealed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to defer the historic three-match series against Windies due to the affected visibility in the mega city, as the second reason has been Caribbean senior players are representing their respective teams during the ongoing edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

The main reason is that weather conditions in Lahore right now make it impossible for cricket to take place,” the official of PCB was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Windies, Pakistan, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Smog, Cancelled, T20Is Series, Bangladesh Premier League, Sri Lanka, ICC World XI
In March 2017, Gaddafi Stadium hosted the final of the second edition of PSL. Photo Credit: Web.

(Read Also: Current Pakistan Team is Blessed with Bowlers Possessing Amazing mentality feels Azhar Mahmood)

After the weather has played a spoilsport for the organizers, the Board decided not to take any further chance, as the ongoing domestic competition Quaid-e-Azam Trophy has been somewhat affected by the smog.

“Even domestic matches for the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy have been disturbed so the PCB have decided to delay the series.” the official added.

On the other side, the meteorological department was unsure when the heavy smog would clear off which further became the cause of the concern for the Board itself.

After Windies Cricket Board agreed to fly to Pakistan, the star players including Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, and Sunil Narine are making an impact in the seventh edition of the BPL alongside Carlos Braithwaite and Evin Lewis.

“The West Indies series has been postponed until next year for a number of reasons (including Windies marquee players),” the official maintained.

Windies, Pakistan, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Smog, Cancelled, T20Is Series, Bangladesh Premier League, Sri Lanka, ICC World XI
Three-match T20I series culminated with a match in Lahore which saw Pakistan sealing the series 3-0. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

After Faf du Plessis-led World XI followed by Thirsa Perera-led expressed satisfaction over the security in Pakistan, the official privy to the Board reiterated the security concern had been taken up.

“A few of the players are unavailable at the moment and there have also been concern about security,” an official asserted.

After Windies Cricket Board agreed to fly to Pakistan, the star players including Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, and Sunil Narine are making an impact in the seventh edition of the BPL.

Interestingly, Windies Board didn’t release any itinerary for Pakistan tour. However, they announced the dates for New Zealand series which is scheduled between December 1 and January 3.

“The series was already looking difficult since the West Indies had announced their series with New Zealand,” the PCB official further added.

Windies, Pakistan, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Smog, Cancelled, T20Is Series, Bangladesh Premier League, Sri Lanka, ICC World XI
Thisara Perera Hashim Amla were the part of World XI in September. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Moreover, the hosts were eagerly waiting to host the three-match series which were slated at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

“The PCB was still hopeful of a tour this year but considering weather conditions, they decided to postpone it until next year now,” official concluded.

Following the volatile security concern, PCB and the government worked in tandem to make the recently concluded One-off T20I successful on October 29 in Lahore between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Windies, Pakistan, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Smog, Cancelled, T20Is Series, Bangladesh Premier League, Sri Lanka, ICC World XI
The resumption of cricket has witnessed highs and lows. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

After players were reluctant to Pakistan, the Sri Lanka Cricket decided to feature in one of the three-matches after Pakistan hosted the ICC-led World XI successfully mid-September for Independence Cup 2017 which was comprised off three T20 matches.

VIDEO OF THE DAY:

The Lions traveled back to Pakistan after eight years since 2009 when the Lankan team bus came under gruesome attack at famous Liberty Chowk in Lahore when visitors were playing the Test cricket.

Javed Miandad, 2019 World Cup, Sourav Ganguly
Miandad's comment did not sit well with many. Photo: Dawn

Javed Miandad Hails Pakistan Cricket on Sri Lanka’s Historic Visit to Lahore

Pakistan batting veteran Javed Miandad believes it is a huge success for Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) agreed to the terms — to dispatch their team to Lahore for the solitary Twenty20 International although several players were reluctant when they dispatched a letter to the national board.

Miandad also added by saying Pakistan has a high regard for the other countries which has had a lot for the sport while expressing the international sides should fly to Pakistan as he believes things have been better.

“We are a sports-loving nation having great respect and love for humanity. I urge international teams to come here and play as Pakistan is safe,” Miandad told Associated Press of Pakistan.

Javed Miandad Hails Pakistan Cricket on Sri Lanka’s Historic Visit to Lahore 3
Miandad urges international teams to play in Pakistan. Photo Credit: Google/Web.

Since 2009, when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus at Liberty Chowk in Lahore, it’s the first time that Islanders are on a 24-hour visit to Pakistan under the leadership of stand-in skipper Thisara Perera, who was also the part of ICC-led World XI in September, this year.

Pertinently, Sri Lanka side arrived in Lahore during the midnight of October 28 which further saw presidential-level security flanked the players at the Allama Iqbal Aiport.

Javed Miandad, Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka, Lahore, Gaddafi Stadium, Twenty20, PCB, SLC
Miandad played between 1976 to 1996. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

However, after the Pakistan Super League (PSL) grand finale in March, Gaddafi Stadium was lit-up with the three-match successful Twenty20 series between World XI and Pakistan in the second week of September, Miandad is hopeful of top-flight cricket returning on a regular basis to fill the stadiums across Pakistan.

“The Gaddafi Stadium was jam-packed for the Pakistan Super League final and the Independence Cup matches which shows our nation had been desperate to witness international cricket on their home soil for a long time,” Miandad added.

Miandad, who represented Pakistan in 124 Tests, revealed the security has improved in the embattled nation which eventually paved the way for Zimbabwe back in 2015 for the limited-overs series.

“No country is safe from the menace of terrorism. As far as Pakistan is concerned, the security situation here has improved,” Miandad remarked.

Javed Miandad, Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka, Lahore, Gaddafi Stadium, Twenty20, PCB, SLC
Miandad has been at the forefront to improve Pakistan cricket. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

The members of the Sri Lankan squad were greeted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi, as the entire route from the was under the surveillance of CCTV cameras and subsequently guarded by the police paramilitary forces.

The Gaddafi Stadium fixture on October 29 will also mark the end of bilateral series which kick-off on September 28 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The former Pakistan batsman termed it as a major boost for Pakistan set-up to send a signal to the world cricket once again to start playing cricket in Pakistan following the political turmoil.

Javed Miandad, Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka, Lahore, Gaddafi Stadium, Twenty20, PCB, SLC
Miandad has also served as batting consultant for Pakistan. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Stylish batsman of his age, Miandad further believes the menace of violence has taken a toll on Pakistan cricket, to resume the international cricket.

Miandad averaged 52.57 in 189 Test innings, and he also donned Pakistan colours in 233 One-day International, as he made his debut in 195 against West Indies at Birmingham.

On the other side, the former world cricket governing body International Cricket Council (ICC) president and former Pakistan skipper Zaheer Abbas lauded the visitors’ efforts for making the match possible.

“SLC’s role will always be remembered in Pakistan cricket history,” Abbas concluded.

VIDEO OF THE DAY:

Abbas, who played 78 Test for Pakistan remarked it would eventually help the hosts in the resumption of all forms of cricket, as the country is yet to host since 2009.

PAK vs SL 2017: Sri Lanka Security Experts Satisfied With Security Arrangement in Lahore

In a much-needed respite for the Sri Lankan players and the support staff, as far as security is concerned ahead of the upcoming third and final T20 International in Lahore, Sri Lankan Air Commodore Roshan Biyanwala has expressed his satisfaction over the security.

PAK vs SL 2017: Sri Lanka Security Experts Satisfied With Security Arrangement in Lahore 4
The security is beefed up outside the Gadaffi stadium in Lahore. (Credits: AFP)

In a bid to resume international cricket in the country, Pakistan government has made top-notch security arrangements for the smooth conductance of the match on Sunday (October 29).

“We attended a meeting where the Inspector General of Police of the Province was in attendance. There were some top security experts, and every person was briefed about his role. It’s a massive operation,” Biyanwala told Cricbuzz.

Giving a brief on the security arrangements, the senior military official said:

“They have got a comprehensive monitoring system. From airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the ground and then back to the airport, all movements are monitored by a sophisticated CCTV system. The Pakistan forces don’t want to even give the Sri Lankan players a hint that their lives are in danger. We had a few concerns, and they have been all cleared, and throughout the Pakistani security chiefs have been very cooperative.”

PAK vs SL 2017: Sri Lanka Security Experts Satisfied With Security Arrangement in Lahore 5
Sri Lankan players arriving in Lahore (Credits: Twitter)

“The Pakistani forces have shown great commitment. They have been superb and very professional. The emergency evacuation plan is top notch. For obvious reasons, we can’t disclose everything, but we are extremely happy with what is in place,” Biyanwala added.

PAK vs SL 2017: Sri Lanka Security Experts Satisfied With Security Arrangement in Lahore 6
Pakistan is leading the series 2-0 (Credits: Getty)

The statement from Biyanwala will be a huge morale booster for the players who have landed in Lahore in the early hours of Sunday. With the likes of Upul Tharanga and Lasith Malinga opting out of the upcoming match, the players have displayed remarkable braveness to tour Pakistan where barring Zimbabwe in 2015; no international team had visited since 2009 when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus.

Video of the day:

The upcoming match will also be a big step for Pakistan in their desperate hopes of resuming international cricket in the country. The cricket-obsessed nation had already successfully staged the Pakistan Super League final and the series against World XI in Lahore and will be keen to prove their credentials of hosting international match again.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka will be looking to win the final to avoid a whitewash.

Also Read: (Kumar Sangakkara Bids Adieu To First Class Cricket)

(PAK vs SL 2017, 1st T20I: Everyone is Excited to Have Sri Lanka Back in Pakistan -Mohammad Hafeez)

 

Sarfraz Ahmed says there is no better feeling than lifting the trophy in front of the home crowd. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

PAK vs SL 2017: Nothing Like Lifting the Trophy in Front of Home Fans – Sarfraz Ahmed

Pakistan’s fortunes in limited-overs cricket have been on the rise this year with the historic Champions Trophy triumph being the cherry on the cake.

But while the results would have surely delighted Sarfraz Ahmed & Co., there is no denying the fact that the players are missing playing in front of their cricket-obsessed fans.

Well, Pakistan will have a chance to lift a trophy in front of the home crowd if they manage to beat Sri Lanka in the forthcoming three-match series and Sarfraz Ahmed feels there is nothing like lifting it in front of fans.

“I am very happy because we will be playing at home and if we can go on to lift the trophy in front of our fans then nothing like that,” Sarfraz said on the eve of the first T20I.

PAK vs SL 2017: Nothing Like Lifting the Trophy in Front of Home Fans - Sarfraz Ahmed 7
Sarfraz had led the team to 2-1 victory against World XI (Credits: AFP)

The first two matches of the three-match series will be played in the United Arabia Emirates before the teams move to Lahore for the third and final T20I.

Pakistan, meanwhile, is favourites to lift the trophy. They have already defeated Sri Lanka 5-0 in the ODIs, and with the Islanders being unable to field a full-strength side, the hosts are likely to win the upcoming series too. Seven of Sri Lanka’s regular T20 players including captain Upul Tharanga have opted out of the series citing security reasons while former captain Angelo Mathews is out with an injury. But despite that, Sarfraz is not willing to take the visitors lightly.

Video of the day:

“T20 is one format where you can’t say one team is favourite. They have a new team but in T20s the team that plays well on the day can make the game interesting. Our focus is on the first match as it is always important to start on a high and then target the remaining matches,” Sarfraz said.

PAK vs SL 2017: Nothing Like Lifting the Trophy in Front of Home Fans - Sarfraz Ahmed 8
Sri Lanka will be led by Thisara Perera (Credits: AFP)

Sarfraz also opened on the incident when a bookie approached him for spot-fixing. The Pakistan skipper had gone on to inform the PCB about it.

PAK vs SL 2017: Nothing Like Lifting the Trophy in Front of Home Fans - Sarfraz Ahmed 9
A bookie approached Sarfraz during the ODI series (Credits: Getty)

“Obviously I did my duty by informing. I was not scared when I informed about it but became scared after I saw myself on the television. There was so much talk about it on the television that made me scared. But by the grace of God, everything is getting normal. When you are going into a series you need to be normal, and everything is going good so far,” Sarfraz explained.

Gloucestershire Thisara Perera
Thisara Perera to play for Gloucestershire in the T20 Blast.
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Thisara Perera Elated to Lead Sri Lanka in the T20I Series Against Pakistan

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 10
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.

Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, T20 Series, Squad, Sri Lanka Cricket
Their is also an opportunity for the fringe players. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

After Refusing to Play in Lahore, Several Sri Lankan Players Likely to Miss T20 Series against Pakistan

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been in talks with its players before leaving several cricketers behind who raised eyebrows regarding the Twenty20 fixture which has been scheduled for October 29 at iconic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

After fans thronged to the Lahore stadium last month (September), it would be another acid test for Pakistan security grid — to conduct another international fixture, in the space of 40 days.

“At the moment the board is talking to each of the players individually, so the selectors don’t know exactly who is available now,” the chief selector of Sri Lanka Graeme Labrooy was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, T20 Series, Squad, Sri Lanka Cricket
Graeme Labrooy was named as the head of SLC selection body in on September 19, 2017, after dissolving Sanath Jayasuriya-led panel. Photo Credit: Web/Google.

(Read Also: PAK vs SL 2017: Mohammad Yousuf Wants Pakistan to Eye More Dominance in ODIs)

According to Labrooy, the players who have shown keen interest – to feature in the Lahore game would be subsequently given preference while hinting the same squad might be introduced in the shortest version of the game.

“The understanding is that we choose the same squad for the series, in fairness to the players who have put their hands up for the Lahore match,” Labrooy maintained.

The fifth and final ODI is slated for October 23 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah.
Pertinently, the fixture in Pakistan will further culminate the limited-overs series which kick-started with three five-match One-day international series on September 28 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, T20 Series, Squad, Sri Lanka Cricket
Lanka is currently participating in the five-match ODI series, as the hosts are having an unassailable lead of 3-0. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Interestingly, on October 16, the Lions Board revealed the T20 matches would be played in Lahore after taking stock of the situation in the recent past.

“But we should know that by Friday. Two SLC executive committee members have been contacting the players,” Labrooy remarked.

However, in September, ICC-led World XI-led by South African skipper has had hailed the security apparatus in Pakistan when the side featured in three-match T20 series against Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan.

The newly-appointed committee of Sri Lankan administration is bound not to consider the players for the full series, who have already refused to play in Lahore.

Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, T20 Series, Squad, Sri Lanka Cricket
The left-handed opening batsman for Lanka Tharanga has already raised the question regarding Lahore T20I. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Lankan skipper Upul Tharanga has already made himself unavailable for the Lahore match due to the security reasons.

Reportedly, a board is aiming to name the players willing to travel Pakistan after feature in the first two 20-over fixtures in Abu Dhabi.

Moreover, the decision was further detailed by the board itself including the sports administration under the tutelage of Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara after evaluating the report made accessible by the world cricket body International Cricket Council (ICC) which saw the successful conclusion of Independence Cup 2017.

Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, T20 Series, Squad, Sri Lanka Cricket
Perera flew to Pakistan with 14-member squad World XI squad to Pakistan for three T20 international fixtures. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

It will be the first time when Sri Lankan team will visit Pakistan except for all-rounder Thisara Perera when visitors’ team bus was attacked at Liberty Chowk in Lahore in 2009 under the interim coach Nic Pothas.

PAK vs SL 2017: Upul Tharanga Withdraws from Lahore T20I; Kusal Perera Set to Replace Him

Sri Lanka limited-overs skipper Upul Tharanga has decided not to tour Pakistan for the T20I match in Lahore scheduled later in the month owing to security reasons.

The southpaw’s decision to pull out of the tour also makes him ineligible to lead the first two games of the series. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had earlier stated that only one team would be picked to play the all three T20I’s against Pakistan.

As per reports in Cricbuzz, from the current squad playing the ODI series in UAE, only swashbuckling all-rounder Thisara Perera and two other players have agreed to travel to Lahore for the final T20I in Lahore.

In the absence of regular skipper Tharanga, Kusal Perera might lead the side for the three-match series. The wicket-keeper batsman is in the process of recovery after sustaining a hamstring injury back in June. As per sources close to Cricbuzz, Perera is expected to undergo an MRI scan, and if cleared he will be leading the side.

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Lasith Malinga. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Dilshan Munaweera, Ashan Priyajan and Isuru Udana who regularly play for Sri Lanka in the shortest format have agreed to travel to Lahore for the final match, as the board tried to negotiate with other national players to tour the city in Pakistan.

A few days earlier a group of 40 players had given a letter to SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala revealing their unwillingness to tour Pakistan. Though some players have softened their stance to a considerable degree, most of them remain unwilling to travel to Lahore. The list also includes premier fast bowler Lasith Malinga.

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Chamara Kapugedera

Malinga hasn’t been included in the ODI squad, but Chairman of Selectors Graeme Labrooy had earlier stated that was looking to bring back Malinga for the T20 leg of the series. Malinga on Sunday raised his voice at the omission of all the players who were against touring Pakistan from the entire series.

Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal and middle-order batsman Chamara Kapugedera were part of the Sri Lankan team bus which was attacked by the militants in Lahore in 2009. While Lakmal has strongly opposed from touring Pakistan, Kapugedera might travel to Lahore.

PAK vs SL 2017: Upul Tharanga Withdraws from Lahore T20I; Kusal Perera Set to Replace Him 13
Kusal Perera might lead in Tharanga’s absence

PAK vs SL 2017: Sri Lanka Cricket Hopeful of Sending a Strong Team to Lahore

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.

PAK vs SL 2017: Sri Lanka Cricket Hopeful of Sending a Strong Team to Lahore 14
A Faf du Plessis-led World XI side visited Pakistan for a three-match T20I series (Credits: AFP)

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.”

PAK vs SL 2017: Sri Lanka Cricket Hopeful of Sending a Strong Team to Lahore 15
40 Sri Lankan players have written to the board expressing their concern (Credits: AP)

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.

PAK vs SL 2017: Sri Lanka Cricket Hopeful of Sending a Strong Team to Lahore 16
Captain Tharanga has pulled out of the final T20I (Credits: Getty)

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.

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