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Sri Lanka supports PCB's mission to bring back cricket to Pakistan

PTI 01 Jun 2015, 22:27:07 IST
PTI

Karachi:  The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has got more support from the President of the Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) Interim Committee, Sidath Wettimuny in its mission to bring back regular international cricket to Pakistan.

Sri Lanka's former Test opener, who is heading the interim set up, Wettimuny told the media in Lahore that the successful tour by the Zimbabwe team would help convince other teams to play in Pakistan.

Zimbabwe became the first Test side to play in Pakistan in six years since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March, 2009.

The Zimbabweans are scheduled to return home later tonight after playing two T20 and three one-day internationals successfully before full houses at the Gaddafi stadium.

The Zimbabwean cricket head has already supported the return of international teams to Pakistan and said Zimbabwe would be pushing for other teams to play in Pakistan at the ICC level.

"I am happy to see international cricket being played in Pakistan and I am hopeful it will help change perception about the security situation and the security plan of the PCB to the rest of the boards," Wettimuny said.

He said that the most significant aspect of the Zimbabwe tour was that the PCB and the national government had shown the will and capability of providing the best security to touring sides to make their visit a safe and successful one.

But Weittimuny was the only head of a cricket board apart from Zimbabwe to accept PCB's invitation to visit Lahore during the series.

Much to the disappointment of the Pakistan board, neither ICC CEO Dave Richardson nor any BCCI representative visited Lahore to review the security arrangements.

"I am just amazed at the response of the Pakistani people to this series and their enthusiasm has convinced me that Sri Lanka has to give more support to Pakistan cricket," Wettimuny said.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said recently while hosting his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain that he would like to see Sri Lanka help Pakistan and send the national team.

Pakistan are already working on convincing the Sri Lankans to tour their country but Wettimuny sounded caution and said it would be premature to comment with finality on the proposal.

"It would be premature to say anything but I have come to Lahore with my committee member as a sign of support and goodwill for Pakistan cricket," he added.

"We have always been very supportive of Pakistan cricket. I'll go back and tell our board what I've seen and then we can take it from there. We need to talk to all our stakeholders including players because they matter a lot, and they need to feel comfortable with a tour," he said.