COLOMBO    -   Ten Sri Lankan players, including captain Dimuth Karunaratne and veterans Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews, have opted out of the upcoming tour of Pakistan over security concerns, the country’s cricket board (SLC) said on Monday.

Sri Lanka are due to tour Pakistan to play three one-day internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 matches to be held between Sept. 27 and Oct. 9 and the board held a meeting with the players to discuss security arrangements for the tour. Pakistan are looking to host their first test on home soil — as part of the World Test Championship in December — since a 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore left six security personnel and two civilians dead while six players were injured.

Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday held a meeting with players, who were chosen as part of a preliminary squad to select the team, which will be touring Pakistan to play 03 ODIs and 03 T20i matches, starting from 27th September to 09th October, 2019. “The meeting was aimed at informing the players about the security arrangements, during the forthcoming tour and also to find out their ‘decision’ (either taking part or not), before selectors sit for the selection of squads for the ODI and T20i series,” the SLC statement said.

“Former Sri Lanka Air Force Commander, Marshal Air Roshan Goonetileke, who is the Chief Security Advisor of the SLC, briefed the players about the security situation in Pakistan and the security arrangements PCB plans on implementing during Sri Lanka team’s tour of that country, whilst Chairman of the National Selection Panel Mr. Asantha De Mel, explained about the selection policy for future tours. He said the players will be given the freedom to decide on either taking part or not in the forthcoming Pakistan tour,” the SLC statement added.

The other players who chose not to play were Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Suranga Lakmal and Dinesh Chandimal. Kusal Mendis was unavailable for selection due to an injury. Last month, the SLC and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) agreed to bring forward the limited-overs leg of the split series and pushed back the two tests, which were originally set to take place in October.

Pakistan did not host international cricket for six years following the 2009 attack, with the team playing their home matches in the United Arab Emirates, but have hosted teams such as Zimbabwe and West Indies in recent years.

Box