The much looked forward to opening ODI match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was washed out at Karachi yesterday. It proved to be a damper to the cricket crazy host nation which was yearning to see international cricket resume from a 10-year long barren run with cricket playing countries boycotting playing in Pakistan following the aborted 2009 terrorist attack on the touring Sri Lanka cricket team while they were travelling in the team bus.
Only a solitary T20 match was playedin Pakistan against Sri Lankain 2017 in what was the final match of a 3-match series with the rest staged in the United Arab Emirates. Incidentally, all Pakistan’s international matches have been hosted in the UAE in a scenario where the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been maneuvering to bring back cricket to its homeland by convincing other countries that the security situation has returned to normal.
Heavy showers that commenced as soon the teams were whisked into the National Stadium under tight security in the afternoon put paid to any chances of play getting underway compelling the umpires to call off the match. It turned out to be a huge disappointment for the large turnout of starved home spectators who had been eagerly looking forward to the match and getting the feel of international cricket once again after a decade of hibernation.
Pakistan has enforced a stringent security network normally reserved for heads of state to ensure the security of the touring Sri Lanka ODI and T20 teams. Security has been beefed up with around 2,000 security personnel on alert at the team’s hotel and at the ground. The ODI team is led by Lahiru Thirimanne and the T20 team by Dasun Shanaka following second string teams being sent out by Sri Lanka Cricket following the backing out of senior players.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-