Playing Test Championship in Pakistan will depend on availability of senior players: SLC

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02 Oct 2019 | 07:04 AM
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Playing Test Championship in Pakistan will depend on availability of senior players: SLC

The PCB has now invited the SLC to play matches of the ICC Test Championship in Pakistan in December

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Satisfied with the security of the ongoing limited-overs tour of Pakistan, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said they will take a call on playing the World Test Championship scheduled to be held here in December based on the availability of their senior players. 

The Sri Lankan team began its tour of Pakistan last week after 10 of its main players refused to travel, citing security concerns. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had initially invited SLC to play two Tests of the ICC Test Championship in Karachi and Lahore but the Islanders instead opted to play a limited-overs series of three ODIs and as many Twenty20 matches. 

The PCB has now invited the SLC to play matches of the ICC Test Championship in Pakistan in December. 

“The security for this series has been top notch and we have no complaints. But for the Tests we have to think because we are playing the World Test Championship and if three or four players who are in the Test team refuse to come, we will then have to see and take a call,” SLC President Shammi de Silva told reporters. 

Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando and the a top-level delegation of SLC including President de Silva and Secretary Mohan de Silva are currently in Pakistan to assess the security for their team. 

The Sports Minister said the Sri Lankan players who have travelled to Pakistan can vouch for the security. 

“We have to respect their (the Lankan players, who refused to travel) decisions. But the players who have come on the tour have played inside and out of national team and they could put pressure on the senior players,” Fernando said. 

“We initially wanted to play just three T20 matches in Pakistan but then we felt we need to support Pakistan more. We wanted to go ahead with the tour because the team has to move on,” he added. 

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said it was important that the game wins over any threats or terrorism. 

“We’ve seen this in Christchurch recently and that was terrible. There were incidents in Sri Lanka but this can happen anywhere in the world. The main thing is that the security and safety of the players cannot be compromised anywhere,” he said. 

Meanwhile Harin Fernando dismissed suggestions that the BCCI had issued a threat to their players that they will be ousted from the cash-rich IPL, if they toured Pakistan. 

Fawad Chaudhary, Pakistan’s Minister for Science and Technology, had alleged that India was pressuring Sri Lankan players not to tour Pakistan. He had tweeted that Indian “sports authorities” were resorting to cheap tactics. 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) still sent its team for an ODI series though Island nation’s top players opted out of the tour. 

But Fernando said that the BCCI never tried to influence their decision and Fawad’s tweet landed him in a tough situation. 

“To be honest with all fairness to the (Pakistan) minister, it caused a lot of controversy as only (Lasith) Malinga had a contract to play in the Indian Premier League. I got into a situation where the Indian High Commission and everybody started talking to me and said to retweet that they had nothing to do with it which I did and that is the truth,” said Fernando. 

“It is a fact. I said it was nothing and we stand by our decision and we wanted to go. But from there onwards it became a different problem and Sri Lanka got sandwiched in between. We were lucky we got ourselves out of it. 

“And India is also a big brother with us they sit right next to us. We need to have cordial relations with them. Pakistan has always been our friend when it comes to sport they have always supported us,” Fernando said. 

The Minister also spoke about cleaning up Sri Lankan cricket and said it was the first Asian country to introduce a proper anti-corruption bill.

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