Sri Lanka ready to play T20I in Pakistan


Aside from that series in 2015, no team has toured Pakistan and the country has had to play their home matches in the UAE due to security concerns.

In what will come as a huge boost for those hoping to see global cricket return to Pakistan, Asian Cricket Council (ACC) development committee chairman Thilanga Sumathipala said that Sri Lanka will no issues in traveling to Pakistan and playing at least a solitary T20I in Lahore.

Sri Lanka are now playing India in the third and final Test at Pallekele.

He assured that Sri Lanka are ready to play at least one Twenty20 worldwide in Lahore "if all logistical and operational plans fall in place".

Sumathipala said: "I am keen to take my team to Pakistan". 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. While security concerns are valid and shouldn't be taken lightly, the fact that the Pakistan Super League was held in the country, Zimbabwe have toured them and ICC are themselves pushing for global cricket to return to the country shows that it is safe for the players to play.

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He also urged other nations to come out in support of Pakistan saying that there is always a risk. 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.

Despite Sumathipala's eagerness, it is not clear yet how Sri Lanka's players will react to the prospect of playing in Pakistan.

"We are still in the process of procuring names from the other countries from which the final 13 will be picked". Many are likely to have reservations. Other former players have also spoken of it as being one of the darkest days of their lives. Pakistan's bid though was dented a touch when New Zealand Cricket announced they won't allow their contracted players to be a part of the World XI that'll tour Pakistan in September. The Punjab government has had multiple meetings with PCB officials and, according to PCB chairman Najam Sethi, are agreed about the dates subject to a go-ahead from the province's chief minister Shehbaz Sharif (brother of Nawaz).

Sumathipala's optimism is also indication that a deal has been reached. With both boards and various governments keen for the match to be played in Lahore, player protestations - if there are any - may not be enough to halt that political will.