The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is hopeful to resume Test Cricket in Pakistan this year as a high-level delegation of Sri Lanka Cricket assessing the security arrangements in Karachi ahead of the former world champions’ proposed tour.
The Sri Lankan cricket team may soon return to Pakistan to play at least one Test match, more than a decade since militants attacked their team bus in Lahore in 2009.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan were originally scheduled to play at a neutral venue, but Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) sent a security delegation to visit Pakistan after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) gave them an offer to play one match in Pakistan—it’s first of the World Test Championship.
According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the security delegation gave SLC “very positive feedback” upon its return from Lahore and Karachi.
“The feedback we got from the security team was very positive,” SLC CEO Ashley de Silva told ESPNcricinfo.
“We’ll be talking to the PCB about some alternatives before we arrive at a decision. The government will be consulted as well,” he said.
Earlier, Headed by Mohan de Silva, the SLC’s honorary secretary, a four-member SLC security assessment team met with top security officials in Karachi and visited National Stadium — the proposed venue for the first Test between the two teams.
The inspector-general of police (IGP) for Sindh, Kaleem Imam, briefed the visiting delegation about the security arrangements to be made during the Test series, a spokesperson of Karachi police said. Sri Lanka’s counsel general in Karachi also attended the meeting.
The Sri Lankan delegation was assured during the briefing that foolproof security would be provided to the team during their visit. It included the SLC’s chief security advisor, Air Chief Marshall Roshan Goonetileke, head of international cricket, Chandima Mapatuna, and the assistant manager anti-corruption and security, Mudiyanselage Palitha Seneviratne.
Pakistan last hosted a Test match on home soil in 2009. International cricket in the country was largely suspended after March that year when armed militants used bullets and grenades to attack the Sri Lanka team bus taking the players to the Gaddafi Stadium.
Pakistan has come a long way since then. In October 2017, a Sri Lanka team did play a one-off T20I in Lahore, but without a number of prominent players in the squad.
According to the ESPNcricinfo report, the major concern for the SLC now is obtaining individual players’ consent to tour Pakistan. If all goes to plan, Sri Lanka will play at least one Test match in Pakistan in October.
PCB managing director Wasim Khan has also appealed to the MCC, asking for international cricket’s return to the nation.
“It was a very positive meeting with the MCC,” Wasim said. “Shane Warne, Kumar Sangakkara and Mike Gatting, the chair of the committee, were present there. They wanted to me to present on the current security in the country, along with what impact playing no international cricket here has had, and what can be done to restore it.”
“I am very, very confident that we will have an MCC team touring us in the near future. But, there are some matters related to security that need to be covered before they send their team. We will work very closely with the MCC to make sure that the tour happens.”