International Cricket

Pakistan invite Sri Lanka to play a tour on home soil

Pakistan have officially invited Sri Lanka to play in a home series in the hope that the two governments can sort out a tour date, sometime around October.

The Sri Lankan cricket team has not stepped into the country since gunmen attacked their tour bus in Lahore back in March 2009, injuring several players including former skipper Kumar Sangakkara and their assistant coach, Paul Farbrace, as well as killing eight Pakistanis.

Since those tragic incidents, no foreign team has toured Pakistan due to the security concerns with neutral venues such as the UAE used to stage their home series.

“We have sent an official invitation to Sri Lanka Cricket to play the series of three Tests, five One-day Internationals and one Twenty20 match in Pakistan in October-November this year,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Nadeem Sarwar said on Sunday.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt last week met interior minister Rehman Malik who assured him of security for the touring teams and instructed Butt to convince Sri Lanka to play in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Somachandra de Silva hinted they might visit but said everything will depend on security and clearance from a Pakistan Task Team (PTT), formed by the International Cricket Council in 2009 after the attacks.

The ICC formed the PTT with England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke to find ways of reviving international cricket in Pakistan and to help improve its disciplinary situation.

Even before the Lahore attacks, international teams were hesitant to tour Pakistan because of security fears sparked in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, which sparked a “war on terror” on its borders.

The ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat earlier this month said no team was willing to tour Pakistan soon because of its security situation.

SLC have offered Pakistan the chance to play the October-November series in their backyard instead.

“Sri Lanka have offered their grounds to host the series as well as another series in which we have to host England early next year and we may consider that option,” PCB official Subhan Ahmed said last week.

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