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Sri Lanka confirm Pakistan tour after promise of top-tier security

Sri Lanka confirm Pakistan tour after promise of top-tier security
FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup warm-up match - Australia v Sri Lanka - The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain - May 27, 2019 Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne in action. Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra/File Photo -
Peter Cziborra(Reuters)
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COLOMBO (Reuters) – The Sri Lanka cricket board (SLC) confirmed their tour of Pakistan on Thursday after the Pakistan government pledged the same level of security to their players as is provided to visiting heads of state.

Sri Lanka are scheduled to play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches in Pakistan between Sept. 27 and Oct. 9, but 10 key Sri Lankan players have already opted out of the series, citing security concerns.

The future of the tour was in jeopardy last week when SLC said it was reassessing the security situation in Pakistan after receiving a warning “of a possible terrorist threat” to its team.

The board issued a statement on Thursday saying that Sri Lanka’s defence ministry has confirmed that it has received no information through any intelligence agency about a threat to the Sri Lanka team or the tour.

Sri Lanka’s High Commission in Pakistan also has no information indicating a threat, SLC said, adding that Pakistan’s army will coordinate the security arrangements.

“(The) tour of Pakistan will go ahead as planned, following assurances given by the government of Pakistan that it will provide maximum security arrangements for the team during their entire duration of stay in Pakistan,” SLC said.

Pakistan are looking to play their first test at home in December since a 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore left six security personnel and two civilians dead and six players injured.

The South Asian country did not host international cricket for six years after the 2009 attack, with the team playing their home matches in the United Arab Emirates. They have hosted teams such as Zimbabwe and West Indies in recent years but only for limited-overs matches.

Last month the Sri Lankan and Pakistan cricket boards agreed to bring forward the limited-overs leg of the split series and pushed back the two test matches, which were originally scheduled to take place in October.

Sri Lanka have already named Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka as ODI and T20 captains for the tour after incumbents Dimuth Karunaratne and Lasith Malinga decided not to travel.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by David Goodman)

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