Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Ehsan Mani said on Friday that the board is still hopeful of hosting Sri Lanka for a limited-overs tour this month. Mani said that there has been no negative feedback from the Sri Lankan Cricket Board. “Discussions are going on and there has been no negative feedback from Cricket Sri Lanka. They have not said they will not come. We are positive they will come and we will host the matches,” he said.
The Sri Lankan board has already named their ODI and T20 squads for the 13-day tour starting from September 25.
The Tour includes three ODIs in Karachi and three T20 internationals in Lahore.
Mani said that venues for the coming series would not be changed as preparations had already started for the tour.
The Sri Lanka team was the victim of a militant attack during a Test match in Pakistan's Lahore in March 2009. Six Sri Lankan players were injured when gunmen attacked their bus while six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were killed. Since the 2009 attack, a majority of international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country.
Following the announcement of the tour, 10 senior players, including Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews have already opted out of the upcoming tour citing security concerns.
Following the move of the 10 senior Sri Lankan players not wanting to tour Pakistan, the country's Science and Technology Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry had accused India of coercing members of the Sri Lankan cricket team into dropping out of the Pakistan tour, sparking yet another controversy on social media.
According to Chaudhry, India had threatened to remove Sri Lanka’s players from the Indian Premier League (IPL) if they didn’t refuse to play in Pakistan. "Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they will be ousted from IPL if they don't refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities," Chaudhry had tweeted.
However, Sri Lanka's Sports Minister has dismissed reports that India had coerced the Sri Lankan players to not tour Pakistan for the upcoming three-match ODI and Twenty20 International series that will take place in Karachi in September. Harin Fernando, the country's Sports Minister took to his Twitter account to clarify, "No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan.Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident. Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel. We have a full strength team and we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan."