Sri Lanka series to go ahead as per schedule, says PCB chairman

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani confirmed that Pakistan's home series against Sri Lanka will go ahead as planned despite top Lankan players pulling out of the Tour.

This will be Sri Lanka’s second tour of Pakistan since its team bus was attacked by militants during a Test match in Lahore in March 2009.   -  getty images

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Ehsan Mani, has made it clear that the home series against Sri Lanka will go ahead as per schedule, despite some of the top Sri Lankan players pulling out of the tour.

"As far as I am concerned, the tour is going ahead. Where's the problem?”, Mani told Sportstar on Tuesday.

A total of 10 cricketers from Sri Lanka had pulled out of the tour on Monday, forcing Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to name a weakened side for the limited overs bilateral series, which begins in Karachi from September 27.

In the two-week long tour — longest series to be hosted in Pakistan since the terror attack on Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 — the two teams are scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is. Mani, however, was not to keen on commenting on Sri Lanka’s team selection issues. “That is the matter of the Board (SLC) to announce their teams. You have to ask them about it,” he said.

With stars like Lasith Malinga, Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews deciding not to travel to Pakistan, the SLC had to pick a relatively young side. The board had a meeting with the players in Colombo on Monday, where they were apprised of the security management in Pakistan. “We asked them whether they are comfortable in travelling to Pakistan. Whoever had issues, pulled out. There was nothing in writing. The players were given freedom to decide,” Sri Lanka’s chief selector, Ashantha de Mel, told this publication.

Pakistan hasn’t hosted a high-profile team for a full-length tour ever since the terrorist attack in 2009. The Lankan team travelled to Lahore for a day to play a lone T20I fixture in October, 2017. However, ICC World XI and the West Indies have played short T20I series in Pakistan in the last two years.

The Sri Lankan team is scheduled to reach Pakistan on September 25.