Sri Lanka, A True Friend of Pakistan Cricket!

In 2008, The Indian Cricket team cancelled its tour of Pakistan post 2008 Mumbai attacks. It would be the first complete series after South Africa toured Pakistan in 2007. In that tough time, from which Pakistan was suffering, Sri Lanka proved to be a good friend and promised Pakistan that their team will tour Pakistan for a complete series.

They fulfilled their promise and they did send their team in 2009. The nation was very happy and was grateful of Sri Lanka. But the happiness didn’t lasted for long, A terrorist group containing 16 gun-men attacked the Sri Lankan Cricket Team near the Gaddafi Stadium.

An image from a TV broadcast shows gunmen firing in the direction of a police vehicle.— Reuters

The team was going to the stadium for the play of the third day of the second test. This was the darkest day in the cricketing history of Pakistan. It took away the light from the hearts of the Pakistanis for eight long years.

Ajantha Mendis, a member of the Sri Lankan cricket team, who was injured during the attack arrives at Colombo airport — Reuters

The Sri Lankan players had minor injuries and everyone was safe. Thanks to the brave bus driver, Meher Mohammad Khalil. Who courageously saved us from further damage. The then Sri Lankan Cricket Team captain, Kumar Sangakkara on behalf of his team showed the sense of brotherhood with Pakistan saying, “We will always have a special place for you in our hearts.”

Kumar’s statement was a proof of love, testament and friendship that these countries have enjoyed over the years. For Sri Lanka Pakistan will be a place where Ranatunga and his men brought happiness to the faces of the Lankan and Pakistani people as well by winning the 1996 World Cup. The Pakistani people supported Sri Lanka and there was hardly any Australian flag seen in the crowd. Every Pakistani was with the Lankan tigers.

Sri Lankan officials and players prepare to board into a helicopter at Gaddafi Stadium after the shooting.— AP

Before leaving Pakistan, Mahela Jayawardene thanked the bus driver for saving the team. “We owe the team bus driver our lives for his remarkable bravery in the face of direct gunfire … Had he not had the courage and presence of mind to get the bus moving after the initial attack then we’d have been a far easier target for the terrorists,” the cricketing star said, recalling the horror. “I honestly don’t know how we escaped.”

The Sri Lankans are again showing their brotherhood for Pakistan when we need it most. Today, no cricketing nation is brave enough to send its players to Pakistan. But it is Sri Lanka, who has arrived again to help us and again has stood by our shoulders. Yes, the Sri Lankan team will start its journey in Pakistan from where they left, Lahore, Gaddafi Stadium for the third T20i under the captaincy of the bravest, Thisara Perera who was the first Sri Lankan player to land in Pakistan after the 2009 terrorist attack with the World XI for the independence cup.

The Pakistani fans are very grateful of Sri Lankan team’s captain, Thisara Perera who came to Pakistan for the independence cup which was held in Lahore. Of course, it is because of him and him only that the same team who was attacked eight years ago, in the same city is touring Pakistan.

They will play a T20i tomorrow at 6:00 PM in Lahore at Gaddafi Stadium. A small welcome opening ceremony is also expected before the match. The people of Pakistan are extremely excited and happy to see the revival of international cricket on their homeland. We all welcome Sri Lanka for coming to our homeland!

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