10 Sri Lankan players opt-out of Pakistan tour, say ‘2009 attack's memory still alive’
New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: In yet another reminder to Pakistan that it should take stern action against terror groups operating from its soil, 10 Sri Lankan cricket players on Monday chose to opt-out of the upcoming tour to the South Asian country citing security concerns.
Sri Lanka is set to visit Pakistan after nearly two years to play three ODIs and three T20I matches from September 27 to October 19. The players who opted out of the series are -- Lasith Malinga, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne.
The Sri Lankan cricket board conducted a meeting with the players to inform them about the security arrangements and were given the freedom to decide on their participation in the tour. However, the 10 Sri Lankan players "chose to stay away" from the series in Pakistan.
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The development marks several instances when major international cricket teams have refused to tour Pakistan since the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.
The Sri Lankan team were on their way to Gaddafi Stadium during the Test match with Pakistan when terrorists believed to be from Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) fired indiscriminately upon the bus. That barbaric attack left eight people dead and injured seven Sri Lankan players and staff.
Since then, international cricket has eluded Pakistan with no high-profile team visiting the country for a full-length tour. However,Sri Lanka returned to Pakistan in October 2017 for a lone T20 match in Lahore, the place where the attack took place eight years ago.
Though, the security situation in Pakistan is far from being completely normal even after the 2009 attack.
Interestingly, the development comes days after US President Donald Trump had called off peace negotiations with the Taliban, after the group had claimed responsibility for the September 5 Kabul car bombing which killed 12 people, including an American soldier and a Romanian service member.
The US President also called off separate meetings with the Taliban representatives and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David.
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US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad announced that the Trump administration had reached a deal "in principle" to withdraw over 5,000 troops from Afghanistan in exchange for guarantees by the Taliban.
The group has slammed Trump for his decision and have vowed to carry out "jihad" against "foreign occupation" in Afghanistan as the country gears up to hold its presidential elections later this year.
Posted By: Talib Khan