Sri Lanka T20I captain Thisara Perera said that he was impressed with the security that was provided to the World XI team in Lahore last month. “I was there in Lahore with the World XI last month and I was very impressed with the security that was given to the players,” he is quoted as saying by Cricbuzz, “We were given security that is given to a Head of State. We were there for six days and were very impressed with the arrangements.”
Sri Lanka and Pakistan play a three-match T20I series starting on Thursday. While the first two matches will be played in the UAE, the third is slated to be played in Lahore. This will hence make it the first international game to be played in Pakistan since 2009. But 40 Sri Lankan players, signed a letter stating their reluctance to play in the country. Captain Upul Tharanga also stated that he will pull out of the third T20I after because of not being “mentally prepared” to play in Lahore. Tharanga may not have been in Lahore when the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked during a Test match but he was part of the squad that played in the ODI series prior to it.
Perera was appointed as captain after it was made clear that Tharanga will have to sit out the entire series of he won’t play the third match. The former said that being handed the captaincy is a “huge honour” for him. “It’s a new challenge as well and I am looking forward to the opportunity,” he said.
Away from the chatter about the Lahore match, Sri Lanka have plenty of worries of their own. They may have recorded a rare away Test series win earlier in the month against Pakistan but were thrashed 5-0 in the recently concluded ODI rubber. “Every team goes through tough times,” said Perera, “It is part and parcel of cricket. As captain I have given the players confidence and told them not to be selfish but to give all what they’ve got for the team. The selectors also have echoed same sentiments. There are some very good talents in this team. Hopefully we will do something special in this series. We will challenge Pakistan. We have told everyone to play without fear of failure. It doesn’t matter if you fail after giving 100 percent. Everyone knows this is a good opportunity and if someone does well, that will be a huge moment in his career.”