A number of important Sri Lankan cricket players’ decision to pull out of the planned Pakistan tour in September has dashed hopes of a complete revival of international cricket in Pakistan. The clouds of doubt over the series thickened after the Sri Lankan board decided to reassess security situation in Pakistan after it received warning of attacks from their government authorities.
The series hit its first snag when ten Sri Lankan players, including T20 skipper Lasith Malinga and former captains Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, pulled out of the tour citing security concerns. Pakistan Cricket Board had made it clear that the participation or non-participation of senior players did not matter as the Sri Lankan team is nevertheless arriving for a complete tour. However, the terrorism threats cast serious doubts on the possibility of the series.
Ten years since the ominous terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, terror continues to haunt cricket in Pakistan, which is home to one of the largest cricket fan bases in the world. Earlier, a Sri Lankan delegation had reviewed security arrangements in Pakistan and found them up to the mark.
There was, nevertheless, widespread disappointment over the Sri Lankan cricket players’ decision to give the Pakistan tour a miss.
So disappointed with the 10 Sri Lankan players who have pulled out of Pakistan tour.
Pakistan has always been a huge support for SL cricket.
Recently after deadly Easter Attacks in SL, our under-19 team was sent on tour there, being the first international team to volunteer.
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 11, 2019
Veteran players, Javed Miandad and Ramiz Raja also expressed their disappointment over the development.
Pakistan Cricket Board responded by saying they are not privy to any safety threats to the Sri Lankan team.
We have seen the SLC statement, but are not privy to any information or intelligence report relating to safety of the SL team.
The PCB reiterates its commitment to provide complete safety and security to the SL side and in this relation will continue to work with the SLC.
— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) September 11, 2019
Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Hussain Chaudry, however saw a ‘foreign’ hand behind the entire issue.
Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ll be ousted from IPL if they don’t refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 10, 2019
The question that prods minds of thousands of Pakistani cricket fans remain unanswered; will we ever see a full revival of international cricket in the country. There isn’t much optimism, as this editorial in Express Tribune believes the day may not be too near.