Doubts remain of playing Tests in Pakistan despite successful tour
Pakistani security officials posing with the Sri Lanka cricket team during their tour to Pakistan.
Sri Lanka may have made a successful tour to Pakistan where they figured in three ODIs and three T20Is, but doubts still remain whether they would want to play the two Tests which are part of the World Test Championships scheduled for December in Pakistan.
“In a Test match you are looking at 15 days of going to the ground instead of five days for the ODIs and T20Is. The matches we played are one-day and short games. We had only five matches the sixth was washed out,” explained Ashantha de Mel who accompanied the team as manager to Pakistan.
“We can’t go and play a Test match without a practice match. In this particular series we didn’t play a warm-up game we went straight into the ODIs,” he said.
Speaking further De Mel said, “The roads are closed the process takes about half an hour to close the roads and they won’t allow you to move. It’s not easy, mentally it’s tough. We owed something to Pakistan because they’ve always helped us. We were able to bear it up for the sake of Pakistan but how much can you bear?”
De Mel however said the tour attracted representatives from the ECB, lreland CB and Cricket Australia to come and check all the grounds and get a first hand view of the type of security provided for the Sri Lankan team.
“What Pakistan is trying to do is to get an European side to come. We made it a little possible for these people to at least to come and have a look. There were ICC officials also who officiated the matches,” said De Mel.
“We have made the ground work for other countries to travel to Pakistan maybe in the next year or so we might see England or Australia coming and playing like we did in the shorter format. Playing matches in the UAE, Pakistan are finding it difficult financially,” he said.
Sri Lanka Cricket president Shammi Silva who also made a trip to Pakistan to witness the matches said, “Pakistan are very happy and grateful to Sri Lanka for sending the team. But we have to assess and see whether it is viable to play Test matches there because they are of five days duration and the players have to be inside the hotel. I got fed up staying inside the hotel for about 2-3 days. We have to think about the players and support staff and how it will affect them.”
However there was a positive side to it as well for being cooped up inside the hotel made the team bond together as one unit.
“It was a good team bonding when they are together without the wives. Too much of freedom is also bad for the players and this is a good lesson I feel,” said Silva. “But we have to talk to the players because they need their freedom to go out shopping, eat out and go and see the world. They cannot be restricted inside a hotel.”
De Mel said the youngsters were focussed to perform and break into the national team and their performances improved with every game.
“When you take the main team and go the players are already established and they are used to their normal life style but these boys want to go out there and perform.”