Sri Lanka’s Lakshan Sandakan (L)  and coach Rumesh Ratnayake
Sri Lanka’s Lakshan Sandakan (L) and coach Rumesh Ratnayake

Karachi: A warm welcome and a presidential level security greeted the Sri Lankan cricket team as it arrived here on Tuesday for the upcoming limited overs engagements against Pakistan. The Sri Lankan team, which arrived hours after a delegation of its security experts had checked in, was taken directly from the old Karachi airport tarmac to the VIP lounge amid heavy security.

They were then driven in bullet proof coasters and cars to the hotel as heavy rains lashed the city. Sri Lanka will play three one-day internationals in Karachi on September 27 and 29 and October 3 before moving to Lahore for a three-match T20 series that concludes on October 9.

Ten leading Sri Lankan players, including their national T20 captain Lasith Malinga and national ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratna, have not come on the tour citing security concerns. On Tuesday, the paramilitary rangers and police officials also took charge of the security in and around the National stadium, where the ODI matches will be played. The Pakistan team has also reached the city from Lahore, where it was undergoing a training camp.

This is the first time since 2009 that a Test nation is touring Pakistan for a full-fledged limited over series spanning nearly two weeks. In 2017 and 2018, the PCB managed to get a ICC World XI to play a T20 series in Lahore and then also convinced Sri Lanka to play a lone T20 match in the same city.

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