PCB rules out shifting Sri Lanka home series to neutral venue

SLC is yet to file a request for reassessment of Pakistan’s security situation

PCB rules out shifting Sri Lanka home series to neutral venue PHOTO COURTESY: AP

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has ruled out shifting the Men in Green’s home series against Sri Lanka, scheduled to take place later this month, to a neutral venue.

The Islanders’ tour of Pakistan seemed on track but the scenario changed after the Sri Lanka Prime Minister’s Office received reliable information of a possible terrorist threat on their team, while touring Pakistan.

According the sources, the PCB is closely monitoring the situation but any possible move about shifting the series to a neutral venue is out of question. The PCB was surprised to see intelligence report because the Sri Lankan Security Delegation, which visited Pakistan last month, were satisfied with the security arrangements in Pakistan. The source further stated that, SLC is yet to file a request for reassessment of security situation in Pakistan.

READ MORE: Fawad claims India ‘threatened’ Sri Lankan players to pull out of Pakistan tour

The board is of the opinion that if they move the series to a neutral venue, it will put their plans about permanently bringing international cricket to Pakistan in jeopardy. The PCB also believes that such a decision will make it difficult to convince foreign players to tour Pakistan, for the upcoming Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan Super League (PSL), as well.  

The Ehsan Mani-led administration has already taken a decision about shifting entire HBL PSL to Pakistan, while it also has to host Bangladesh, next year.  Bearing this in mind, the home series against Sri Lanka is of significant importance as it will pave the path towards future international matches on home soil.

It must be noted that Sri Lankan security forces failed to act on warnings before the Easter suicide bombings in Colombo in May, that killed more than 250 people, which is why Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been advised to take extreme care and ‘reassess’ the situation before embarking on the tour.

Earlier, ten Sri Lankan players, including T20I skipper Lasith Malinga and ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne, pulled out of an upcoming tour of Pakistan citing security concerns.

The other eight who opted out were Thisara Perera, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal and Dinesh Chandimal.

READ MORE: Raja slams SLC, players over tour pullout

Following a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus during a Test match in Lahore in March 2009, a majority of international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country.

The tour has been seen as another step towards reviving international cricket in Pakistan after years of isolation.

Sri Lanka will be touring Pakistan to play three One-day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches, scheduled to take place from September 27 to October 9, 2019.

This will be Sri Lanka's second tour of Pakistan since the 2009 attack.

The Sri Lankans returned to Pakistan for a T20I in Lahore in October 2017 with a squad led by Thisara Perera, who has decided to stay out of the tour this time.

Sri Lanka are also to play two Test matches against Pakistan, but the dates and the venue are yet to be announced.