Sri Lanka are committed to playing at least one Twenty20 International against Pakistan in Lahore in September if all logistical and operational plans fall in place.
Thilanga Sumathipala, the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket, said at the conclusion of the Asian Cricket Council Annual General Body meeting in Colombo on Sunday (August 12) that his cricket board had already sent security experts to assess the situation in the same Pakistani city where the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked on its way to the Gaddafi Stadium for a Test match against the host nation on March 2009.
Since that incident, top teams have stayed away from travelling to Pakistan – only Zimbabwe of the Test-playing countries visited Pakistan, in 2015, for three T20Is – and it will be a huge shot in the arm for Pakistan cricket if Sri Lanka were to return to the scene of one of the darkest moments in cricket history.
“I am keen to take my team to Pakistan,” Sumathipala said. “We have had our security experts visit and make an assessment, and things look positive with things improving all over the country and especially Lahore being cleared. We have three T20 games coming up against Pakistan in September, and we would like to play at least one of those games in Lahore.”
Calling for Asian unity and appealing to all members of the ACC to back Pakistan, he went on, “There is always risk – there were two attacks in London during the Champions trophy, but cricket continued under the security assurances if the ICC, so likewise we too must be as accommodating and understanding as possible with our members and extend our fullest support to them as the cricketing family of Asia. Sri Lanka suffered through three decades of terrorism and war and at one stage no one wanted to come here – Pakistan stood by us then, as did India.”
The 33rd AGM of the ACC was presided over by Najam Sethi, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board who has also been recently appointed the ACC chairman, and attended by representatives of 19 countries.