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PCB inviting Sri Lanka to tour Pakistan - Sethi

Umar Farooq

May 22, 2014

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

A shattered pane of the Sri Lankan team bus , Lahore, March 3, 2009
The Sri Lanka team bus was fired at by terrorists in Lahore in March 2009 © AFP
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Najam Sethi, the PCB chairman, has said the Pakistan board is inviting Sri Lanka over for a series, asserting that Pakistan is "ready" to host international cricket in the country once again.

The PCB's invite follows Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa's statement on Tuesday, when, on the sidelines of a summit in China, he said that his cricket team "must go to Pakistan and play there". The PCB decided to write Sri Lanka Cricket, offering its team a series in Pakistan.

Pakistan has been a no-go zone for major international cricket since March 2009, when terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka team bus on its way to Gaddafi Stadium on the third morning of a Test. Several cricketers were injured in the attack, including Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paravitarana. Six security men and two civilians were killed.

"We must go and play there also," President Rajapaksa said during a meeting with Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain. "We can't allow the terrorists to have control."

Responding swiftly to the statement, Sethi said: "We are very much concerned about being isolated, without major international cricket in Pakistan. We have heard the positive statement by the president of Sri Lanka and we are writing them and offering them a home series in Pakistan.

"We are writing them that there is no security problem and you are welcome and we will provide you the maximum security with the help of the Punjab Government.

"We are ready to host them and will chalk out a suitable window for them. Our top priority is to host an international team and we are making efforts to do that."

This is not the first time the Sri Lanka government has hinted at having intentions to help Pakistan in breaking their isolation, but the discussions never bred anything concrete previously. The PCB also tried hard to negotiate home series' with the Bangladesh Cricket Board, but the series never happened, with Bangladesh twice withdrawing after seemingly having committed.

The PCB had tried to win back the confidence of players by organising a lucrative Twenty20 league, offering top players from around the world a chance to earn over $100,000, tax-free, in 10 days. But the plan was hit by logistical problems, and the board had to postpone it indefinitely.

Pakistan is set to tour Sri Lanka in August to play two Tests and three one-day internationals. They will then host Australia and New Zealand in the UAE, from October 3 to December 19.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

not needed the police for security. they should arrange army protection for players

Posted by CKfrombrisbane on (May 26, 2014, 23:01 GMT)

SL will not tour Pak until everything is assured safe. SL president can not force the team to go without analysing the security over there. This is so stupid.

Posted by ms2000 on (May 26, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

We Sri Lankans are with you Pakistan!

Posted by vkumar_086 on (May 24, 2014, 18:49 GMT)

@ Adnan Farooqui....If Pak is safe for any sports then why it is unable to host a single match in last 6 years.....Bangladesh hosted two major events-Asia cup and T20 WC in this year alone...

@Jasir Noor Memon....your words are very near to reality

Posted by ziazai on (May 24, 2014, 18:07 GMT)

What Jasir Noor Memon said is wrong. Pakistan is a very big country and not every place is unsafe but some could be happened anywhere. Our government can provide security to any team. Just we have to belief on ourselves. Srilanka you are welcome.

Posted by   on (May 24, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

Pakistan is a safe place for any type of sports.ICC should check the security issues,and then play a vital role to bring cricket back in Pakistan...

Posted by q4Qasim on (May 24, 2014, 11:19 GMT)

Pakistan cricket fans missing home cricket matches since 3rd March 2009 if they can visit all countries for different tournaments why not neighbor countries visit Pakistan. A fear of terrorists attack stops all cricket nations away from Pakistan home series and this not only gives financial losses to Pakistan but also Pakistani nation missing home matches in their own grounds . The grass of all grounds become vanished, the chairs become old without using and doors become rusted. Now Pakistan cricket grounds looks like Museum and horror place where only Owl and Bat living. So Sri Lankan cricket team should show braveness and start a series to show the world that Pakistan is a safe place for cricket and once this happens all other countries will start visiting Pakistan. It's time for Sri Lanka to return some pride to Gaddafi Stadium Lahore where they won WC 1996.

Posted by Gloryof96 on (May 24, 2014, 2:54 GMT)

We should do it and the logistical issues needs to be taken care of.

How can I ever forget what Pak & Ind did to us in 1996, they played as one team for the first time since 1948, these are our brothers.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2014, 22:54 GMT)

I am a Pakistani supporter but I dont think Pakistan is a safe place. Until ICC allows no team should visit Pakistan. What if Srilankan team is attacked again? Who will be responsible for the lives of innocent players and the future stars. Please Srilanka if you want to visit Pakistan then you should make sure that you guys will be safe. OR else government of Pakistan should give army protection to Srilankan team.

Posted by goldeneye075 on (May 23, 2014, 15:10 GMT)

@caromball Yes I do agree with you, Ramith Rambukwella should be in the team if they are touring Pakistan, and I also would like Namal Rajapaksa , and Yositha Rajapakse need to be in team (also the other one , I can not remember the name), although they have little experience in cricket. (Although backyard cricket at some point in their lives)

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