Happy to lead my team to Pakistan: Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka satisfied with security arrangements
Sri Lanka named Dasun Shanaka as captain for T20I series in Pakistan (Reuters Photo)
- Sri Lanka squads left for Pakistan on Tuesday
- Top stars pulled out of the tour, citing security fears
- Shanaka and Thirimanne will lead the T20I and ODI squads
Sri Lanka cricket team has left for Pakistan after ODI and T20I captains Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka expressed confidence about the security arrangements made for the upcoming bilateral series.
The second-string Sri Lankan squads left the island nation on Tuesday amid security fears that forced 10 players, including top stars Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews, to pull out from the tour, starting September 27 in Karachi. Sri Lanka will play 3 ODIs and as many T20Is in Pakistan between September 27 and October 9.
"I have been there before. I am satisfied with the security arranged for us and I am happy to lead my team to Pakistan. We hope to give a good fight to our very strong hosts," Dasun Shanaka said, as quoted by AFP.
Notably, Sri Lanka cricket team was blessed by Buddhist monks ahead of their departure from Colombo.
Following the withdrawal of top stars from the limited-overs series in Pakistan, Lahiru Thirimanne was named as the ODI captain whereas Dasun Shanaka was appointed as the captain of T20I team. Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne were the player who opted out of tour while Kusal Mendis was not available for selection due to an injury.
Pakistan have not been able to host high-profile international matches in the country ever since the 2009 bus attack on a touring Sri Lankan team bus. Gunmen opened fire at the team bus in Lahore, leaving several cricketers injured.
Sri Lanka played a lone T20I in Pakistan in 2017 after which ICC World Eleven and West Indies played short T20I series in the Asian nation.
Nonetheless, the families of several Sri Lankan players were reportedly worried over the prospects of the stars going to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Minister Harin Fernando had rejected claims made by Pakistan Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry that India forced the players of the island nation to opt out of their upcoming tour against the Men in Green.
"No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan. Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident. Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel. We have a full strength team & we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan," Harin Fernando had tweeted earlier this month.
Pakistan, who will be playing under head coach Misbah-ul-Haq for the first time, announced a full-strength squad for the ODI and the T20I series. Pacer Hasan Ali though missed out with an injury.
Sri Lanka tour of Pakistan 2019 scheudule
1st ODI on September 27 in Karachi
2nd ODI on September 29 in Karachi
3rd ODI on October 3 in Karachi
1st T20I on October 5 in Lahore
2nd T20I on October 7 in Lahore
3rd T20I on October 9 in Lahore