Cricket

Cricket: Sri Lankans touch down in Pakistan

Hard at work: The Pakistan cricket team prepares for thefirst home Test series in a decade.

Hard at work: The Pakistan cricket team prepares for thefirst home Test series in a decade.   | Photo Credit: Anjum Naveed

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First Test tour in the country in 10 years

Sri Lanka embarked on the first Test cricket tour of Pakistan in 10 years on Monday following the deadly 2009 attack on its team that plunged Pakistan into sporting isolation.

Touchdown Islamabad, tweeted the Pakistan Cricket Board, along with a video of the players at the airport, while PCB chief executive Waseem Khan called their arrival a “historic occasion”.

Sri Lanka will play two Tests under heavy security, one in Rawalpindi — where Pakistan's army is headquartered — and the second in Karachi, ending a decade-long absence for cricket's five-day format.

“This is my first tour of Pakistan,” said Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who opted out of the team's recent limited-overs tour of Pakistan.

“After the 2009 incidents players were scared to tour Pakistan but in the last two years or so Sri Lanka and other teams have toured Pakistan.

“We want to play good cricket in Pakistan and hope they give us some good security,” he said.

Sri Lanka, despite being the target of the 2009 attack, has been a driving force behind the return of international cricket after it played six limited-overs matches in Karachi and Lahore in September and October.

The series — the second for both teams in the ongoing World Test Championship — promises to be intriguing, not least because of the tussle between the two coaches: Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq and Sri Lanka's Mickey Arthur.

Arthur was Pakistan coach until August when he was axed by the country's cricket officials, who included Misbah, following a disappointing performance at this year's World Cup.

The South African, who was only appointed by Sri Lanka last week, will hope to pile the pressure on Pakistan which coming off a humiliating 2-0 Test thrashing in Australia.

Misbah, who is also Pakistan's chief selector and batting coach, will be under especially heavy scrutiny following Pakistan's run of poor form.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 10:03:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/cricket-sri-lankans-touch-down-in-pakistan/article30259908.ece

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