Sangakkara: ‘Touring Pakistan is an individual decision’

The former Sri Lanka skipper was one of the players in the bus attacked by terrorists on March 3, 2009 during an ongoing series against Pakistan.

Kumar Sangakkara said the players should be allowed to make up their mind rather than being forced to do so.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

For the last few days, the cricketing circles seem to be divided over whether Sri Lankan cricketers should travel to Lahore for the final T20I later this month. While the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials have been trying to convince the Islanders to play the game at the Gaddafi Stadium, a headway has still not been found.

The reports suggested that the Lankan cricketers were not ready to travel to Lahore, keeping in mind the horrific incident of March 3, 2009, when the visiting team’s bus was attacked on its way to the stadium for a Test match.

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Former skipper Kumar Sangakkara was one of the players in the bus on that dreadful morning, eight years ago. And now, as the uncertainty continues, he believes that the ‘players should be allowed to make up their mind rather than being forced to do so’.

In a chat with Sportstar on Wednesday, Sangakkara said: “It is a decision of the individual players in the Sri Lankan side. There has to be an open dialogue between the PCB, the Sri Lankan Cricket Board, the ICC and of course the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA). They should come together and there should be transparency in all the information provided to the respective teams, the respective officials and of course to the families of the teams, so that the players can make up their own mind,” Sangakkara said.

“Once they have spoken to the ICC representative, and the representatives of all the organisations (the SLC, the PCB and FICA), the players can have a clear idea about the security arrangement and the ground reality. They can make up their mind on whether to tour or not,” the former cricketer, who recently joined the T10 Cricket League as its brand ambassador and is also a star player for the franchise, Maratha Arabians, said.

Though Sangakkara is happy to see international cricket returning to Pakistan, he feels the Lankan players should also be provided with relevant information about security. “Of course, bringing back international cricket to Pakistan is a wonderful initiative. The World XI playing there is a great thing. The fans have been deprived of home cricket and the players have been deprived of playing in front of the home crowd, in their home ground. At the same time, the Sri Lankan players need to have all the relevant information given to them by the ICC and the home board,” Sangakkara said.

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