Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi took to Twitter on Monday evening to highlight the irony between Pakistan’s cricket legacy and Sri Lankan players’ refusal to visit Pakistan for a tour. The specific irony he picked up on involved Imran Khan himself being a former Cricketer - and a successful one at that - but failing to inspire sufficient confidence in a neighbouring country to visit his own, while parallelly 'ranting and raving' against India. This comes after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Monday announced the list of players who will not be taking part in the Pakistan Tour which will commence from September 27. Chairman of the National Selection Panel, Mr. Asantha De Mel, said that the players were given the freedom to decide on their participation for the forthcoming matches in Pakistan.
Supreme irony. #Pak, a country headed by eminent cricketer of yesteryears, loses confidence of neighbouring cricket playing #SL, while the same ex cricketer govt head of #Pak, raves & rants abt #Indian terror! How silly can a country get?— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) September 9, 2019
In March 2009, a visiting Sri Lankan team’s bus was attacked by terrorists at Lahore following which top test teams have stopped touring Pakistan. This happened when the Sri Lankan team was in the middle of a test match, visiting the Gaddafi stadium. After this incident, no Test international test matches have been played in Pakistan, with the Pak national side often having to 'play host' at neutral venues.
However, Zimbabwe, Kenya, ICC World Eleven, Sri Lanka and West Indies have come for short visits to Lahore and Karachi to play limited over games. A security delegation from SLC visited Pakistan to look at the security arrangements for the forthcoming ODIs and T20 matches. They visited the grounds and hotels where the teams would stay in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad besides meeting the board, police and security officials.
After due investigation of the place, former Sri Lanka Air Force Commander, Marshal Air Roshan Goonetileke, who is the Chief Security Advisor of the SLC, briefed the players about the security situation in Pakistan and the security arrangements PCB plans on implementing during Sri Lanka team’s tour of Pakistan. Following the meeting with the players, the National Selectors, selected a T20I and ODI squad to tour Pakistan. The players who have boycotted the Pakistan series include Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal, and Dimuth Karunaratne. Kusal Mendis was absent for the selection process due to an injury he had suffered during the New Zealand Series.