Image courtesy: AFP
Image courtesy: AFP

Sri Lankan cricket team is expected to play one T20 match in Lahore subject to security clearance – later this month. A Sri Lanka Cricket Board official has said that the rest of the tournament will be played in the United Arab Emirates. The two teams will kick the tournament off with a day-and-night Test match in a two-match series, starting on September 28. Sri Lanka will also play five one-day internationals and two T20 matches in the Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, a board official said. ALSO READ: Sri Lanka set to play day-night Test against Pakistan in September

A third T20 match will be played in Lahore, Pakistan subject to security clearance, the official added. Earlier, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala said that he is keen to take his national team to Pakistan for the first time since their bus was attacked by gunmen in Lahore. No major side has toured Pakistan since the March 2009 militants attack on the Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore, killing six Pakistani policemen and injuring some of the visiting players. However, low-ranked sides namely Afghanistan and Zimbabwe had toured the country for a limited-over series.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan are due to play each other in a full series that starts at the end of September. And as per an SLC release, Sri Lanka will play at least one of the three-T20 games in Lahore in September this year if all logistical and operational plans fall in place .

Speaking at the Asian Cricket Council s (ACC) AGM on Saturday, Sumathipala was quoted by ESPNCricinfo as saying, I am keen to take my team to Pakistan. We have had our security experts visit and make an assessment, and things look positive with things improving all over the country and especially Lahore being cleared. We have three T20 games coming up against Pakistan in September and we would like to play at least one of those games in Lahore.

He further added, I call upon each one of you as members to play your role and give Pakistan the security of your support. There is always risk – there were two attacks in London during the Champions trophy, but cricket continued under the security assurances if the ICC, so likewise we too must be as accommodating and understanding as possible with our members and extend our fullest support to them as the cricketing family of Asia.

However, despite Sumathipala’s eagerness, it is not clear yet how Sri Lanka’s players will react to the prospect of playing in Pakistan. Since 2009, Pakistan have played most of their home games in the UAE, although they hosted Australia in England in 2010. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is slated to send a World XI to Pakistan in September for three-match T20 series.