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Sri Lanka cricket team arrives amid tight security

KARACHI: Sri Lanka’s cricket team arrived in Karachi on Tuesday evening for a six-match limited-overs series – the first involving a major Test-playing nation in Pakistan in ten years.

It’s a development which underlines the fact that normalcy is returning to the world of Pakistan cricket.

But soon after landing in Karachi, which will host a three-match One-day International series from Friday, the Sri Lankans cancelled their press conference and Wednesday’s pre-match training session. This means that the Islanders will take on Pakistan in the ODI series without carrying out a single training session at the venue of the series – the iconic National Stadium.

It’s a development which underlines the fact that there is still a long way to go before normalcy fully returns to the world of Pakistan cricket in the real sense of the world.

The Sri Lankans almost cancelled their much-awaited tour of Pakistan after reports of a terror threats. That’s why when they called off Wednesday’s planned activities at the National Stadium, there were fears that the tourists might be playing it safe.

But a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman told ‘The News’ that the visiting Sri Lankan squad which includes top Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials is completely satisfied with the security arrangements made for them.

“Perhaps the reason behind their decision to cancel the press conference and training session is jet lag,” said the PCB spokesman.

The Sri Lankan cricketers arrived in Karachi from Colombo via Dubai.

They were received at the airport by Zakir Khan, PCB’s Director International Cricket and other top Board officials.

The Sri Lankan ODI team is captained by Lahiru Thirimanne. Dasun Shanaka will lead the team in the three-match T20I series to be played in Lahore. The visiting team is without most of Sri Lanka’s top stars who have stayed away from the tour because of security concerns.

Sri Lanka are the first frontline Test-playing team to our Pakistan since 2009. In 2015, Zimbabwe’s cricket team played a three-match ODI series in Pakistan.

The three-match ODI series will begin on Thursday followed by two more games on September 29 and October 3. Pakistan and Sri Lanka will then meet in Lahore for a three-match T20 series from October 5 to 9.

Sri Lanka’s ODI squad: Lahiru Thirimanne (captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka, Angelo Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara

T20I squad: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Angelo Perera, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kuma.

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