Thilanga Sumathipala, Sri Lanka Cricket’s President, on Sunday (October 29) vowed his board will not leave Pakistan in cricketing isolation and will send ‘A’ and Under-19 teams to the country where improvement in security situation is paving way for the revival of international cricket.
Sunday’s Twenty20 International between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is the fourth international activity in Pakistan since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team March, 2009.
Those attacks suspended all international cricket in the country but Sumithapala said his country is proud to have given support to Pakistan.
“We are happy and privileged to be here,” said Sumathipala ahead of the match. “We can’t allow Pakistan’s isolation to go on as we have ourselves suffered a 30-year isolation due to the civil war.
“Fans in Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka are all passionate about the game and Pakistani fans deserve the best of cricket. So we have sent this team and hopefully this will not stop, and we will send our ‘A’ team and Under-19 teams soon.”
Sumithapala also called on other Asian countries to support Pakistan.
“If Pakistan cricket is weak, then Asian cricket will be weak and if Asian cricket is weak the world cricket will be weak,” he said.
Meanwhile, Najam Sethi, the PCB chairman, said Sri Lanka’s visit is a big step towards revival of top-flight cricket in the country.
“We are doing our efforts and this is a big leap towards reviving cricket in Pakistan, and in the next two-three days we will announce the schedule of three Twenty20 internationals with the West Indies,” said Sethi.
“The cricket world is giving their support and ICC has helped in the assessment of security, so we expect more help from the cricket world.”