The Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi, has reiterated that a full strength Sri Lankan team will come to Lahore this month to play the last T20 match of the ongoing series.
“Contrary to rumours and speculations we are expecting to host a full strength Sri Lankan side. The Sri Lankan board President has assured us they want to play the match in Lahore and will send their best team,” Sethi said in Karachi on Wednesday.
Rumours have been circulating in the international media that while the Sri Lankan board may have agreed to send its team to Lahore for the lone T20 game on 29th October, some top players will skip the tour because of security concerns.
Senior players Upul Tharanga and Lasith Malinga were part of the Sri Lankan squad that came under attack by terrorists in Lahore in March 2009.
It has been reported that limited overs captain has pulled out of the T20 in Pakistan due to security concerns. Sethi said the West Indies board had also confirmed they would be playing three T20 matches in Lahore.
“The issue is that they want us to travel to West Indies in return but there seems to be no possible window available to us to go there before 2019. They say that is too long a wait for them.
“We have now floated a proposal to compensate them for coming to Lahore and they pay us when we do eventually tour them. Hopefully, the final details will be ironed out within the next two weeks. But the tour is confirmed,” he said.
Sethi, however, made it clear that he was not sure when Pakistan would be able to host a full bilateral series with a Test playing nation including five-day games at home.
“It could happen next year or it could take time. But the main thing is the process of international teams coming to Pakistan has started this year,” he added.
Sethi said the positive thing is that the International Cricket Council and its security experts were completely satisfied with the security arrangements made for the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore in March and for the World Eleven tour in September.
The PCB Chief conceded that he realised that without international stars playing at other venues in Pakistan the return of international cricket to Pakistan wouldn’t be complete.
“I am in Karachi and have met with the Chief Minister because we want to have few matches of the third PSL edition at the national stadium next February.”
Sethi said that the renovation and facelift of the national stadium would start soon at a cost of around 150 crore rupees but the PCB planned to have a facelift in the first phase which would allow them to host the PSL matches as well.