Pakistan squad leaves for UAE to take on Sri Lanka

Pakistan will be boosted with the return of pacer Umar Gul (L) in their squad Getty Images

Karachi: Oct 15, 2011

The Pakistani cricket team departed for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Saturday to play a bilateral series against Sri Lanka, starting with the first Test Tuesday.

The Pakistani squad led by skipper Misbah-ul-Haq flew to the UAE from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the country’s eastern city of Lahore, Xinhua reported.

Team captain Haq said that the current team is balanced with the combination of junior and senior players, and it will try its best to give positive results in the series played at a neutral venue.

“Boys (players) have worked on different areas to improve as tough matches are expected against Sri Lanka,” Haq added.

On the occasion Pakistan’s interim coach Mohsin Khan stressed the need for the Pakistani players to focus on being mentally tough during the series.

“We have talented players who have good records, and I hope that they would show their improvement in the game,” said Khan.

Pakistan and Sri Lankan teams are scheduled to play five One-Day Internationals, three Tests and one Twenty20 International at the Sheikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Sri Lanka led by batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan have already reached the UAE.

These matches were scheduled to be played in Pakistan but Sri Lanka refused to send their team for security reasons. The Sri Lankan cricket team bus was ambushed by unidentified gunmen March 3, 2009, in Lahore on its way to stadium. Eight Pakistanis, including six policemen, were killed and six Sri Lankan players and two officials were injured.

The grave incident meant international sports activities were stopped in the country as other nations refused to send their teams. (IANS)