The Sunday Leader

Lankans Embark On Crucial Tour Today

The Sri Lankan cricket team leaves today for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to take on Pakistan in two tests, five ODIs and three T20 games with the last T20 game set to be played in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has confirmed that it will assess the security situation in Pakistan before sending its team to play the third and final T20I match in Lahore next month.

Sri Lanka’s visit to Pakistan would be the first time they would travel to Pakistan since their team bus was attacked by terrorists outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore during their 2009 tour. As many as seven Sri Lankan players were injured during that horrific incident.

Although the recent World XI series in Lahore was a success, Sri Lanka’s own visit – for the third T20, on October 29 – is not confirmed yet. For now, SLC is positive the match will be played in Lahore, but will make further security assessments closer to the game. According to CEO Ashley de Silva, the board is committed to addressing player concerns.

“We have scheduled the last game in Pakistan and will assess the security situation once the Test series is over. Then we will take a call. We will send some security experts to Pakistan as well to assess the situation. That report should come to us two weeks prior to the visit.” Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley De Silva assured the media on Thursday (21st).

The Sri Lanka team hit an all-time low during the recently-concluded Indian tour where they lost all nine matches across three formats.

That 9-0 drubbing was preceded by humiliating losses to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in Sri Lanka’s own backyard quickly erasing the memories of the Lankans 3-0 whitewash of Test champions Australia in August 2016.

The team suffered a huge blow when former skipper Angelo Mathews was ruled out of the first Test due to a calf injury and the former skipper will not travel with the squad today. Asanka Gurusinha, Cricket Manager confirmed that Mathews’ participation even for the second Test match, which will be Sri Lanka’s first ever Day / Night Test match is doubtful.

“Angelo will not be travelling with the squad. He will be in Colombo and will undergo a fitness test before the second Test. If he is good, then he will join the squad in Dubai.” Gurusinha said.

It is hoped that Mathews – by far Sri Lanka’s most experienced player – will be fit for the ODIs and T20s that follow the two tests.

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