Sri Lanka team travelling to Lahore will be accorded with top security. (Source: AP)
Sri Lanka Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera on Wednesday said that the cricket team travelling Pakistan for the final T20I in Lahore will be provided security that is normally accorded to a visiting head of state by the Pakistan government.
Jayasekera, who will also be accompanying the team to Pakistan, said, “They have guaranteed top security to the team,” adding that it would be safe to go there as Sri Lanka have made necessary arrangements for the security.
Despite Pakistan hosting the Pakistan Super League final in March and three T20 internationals against a World XI last month that included players from seven countries, regular Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga and five other players, as well as coach Nic Pothas refused to travel to Lahore.
That left the Sri Lankan selectors with no choice but to hand all-rounder Thisara Perera, part of the World XI, the captaincy and choose a new-look side. “We have to remember that Pakistan along with India came to Sri Lanka when Australia and West Indies refused to come here for the 1996 World Cup,” added the Sports Minister.
Sri Lanka return to Pakistan eight years after their team bus was ambushed by gunmen on the way to the ground in Lahore on March 3, 2009. The attacks, which killed eight people and left seven Sri Lankan players and a staff member injured, resulted in the suspension of all international cricket in Pakistan, forcing them to play home matches in the United Arab Emirates.