Sri Lanka coach bats for more cricket in Pakistan

Ratnayake believes that the ongoing series will be a precursor for Test tour in December

Sri Lanka coach bats for more cricket in Pakistan PHOTO: AFP

Sri Lanka coach Rumesh Ratnayake believes that his team’s ongoing tour of Pakistan will go a long way in convincing other players to visit the country, for the Test series in December.  

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.

Pakistan, forced to play home matches in the neutral venues of the United Arab Emirates, convinced Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to send their team, assuring them of stringent security with 2,000 personnel guarding the teams around the hotel and stadium.

While talking during a press conference, at the National Stadium in Karachi, Ratnayake spoke about the importance of Sri Lankan team’s tour on Pakistan cricket.  

"This will be a precursor for that [Test] tour [in December]," Ratnayake was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "I'm sure this will certainly encourage the others to take decisions, but we can't enforce it on them. They have taken a decision and we have to respect that, but certainly if things go well, this will be a huge thing for the future, not only for them but for all other countries to be here."

Although the Sri Lankan team’s preparation for the limited-overs series was disrupted by rains, both, in Pakistan and back home but Ratnayake believes it would be unprofessional to use this as an excuse.

"Even before we came here, the preparations were hampered by rain. It seems as if it's raining in the whole world. We had only had a day's training outside, and today was the second day. So, as you can imagine, the prep hasn't been all that good, but that's not going to be an excuse because they are all professional players. The people who have taken their place are challenged to do well, it's for their future also, so I hope there won't be any rain," he said.

He added: "The challenge today was from the heat rather than the rain. It was sunny but the focus was for the batsmen to know the sort of conditions they will face during the match, and ensuring they train well enough to be prepared for whatever comes their way."

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The Sri Lankan coach also stressed on the importance of keeping players motivated, bearing in mind the challenges that lay ahead of them.  

"There are various ways of motivating them. One is the challenge of facing this Pakistan team, and we talked about the Pakistan team being Goliaths and us not," he said. "That's the sort of the way we are motivating them, but they are professionals and I'm sure they'll do what's needed to be done.”