On Monday, news broke that 10 Sri Lankan players chose to opt-out of the upcoming Pakistan tour which is set to be held between September 27 to October 19.
However, the Lankan players cited security concerns and pulled out of the tour. 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.
It is worth recalling that international cricket deserted Pakistan after the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team bus in 2009. Pakistan did not host international cricket for six years following the 2009 attack.
The attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team on 3 March 2009 will always be remembered. The bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers was fired upon by 12 gunmen near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. The team were on their way to play the third day of the second Test match.
Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ll 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— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 10, 2019
Seven Sri Lanka national cricket team members were wounded in the attack. This was probably the first instance when cricketers were directly targeted by terrorists. The test was called off as the players were evacuated from the Gaddafi stadium and taken to a nearby airbase.
Now, a decade later, Pakistan is yet to get the confidence back of international players to come to their country. While it is a loss for the cricket-loving people of Pakistan and big embarrassment for the Imran Khan government, as usual the ministers in his government chose to blame India without proof for the brutal snub received from Sri Lankans.
Minister Fawad Chaudhry, last known for trying to gloat over ISRO losing communications of Vikram Lander, again made an inane statement saying India arm-twisted Sri Lankan players not to visit Pakistan.
Federal Minister for Science & Technology Government of Pakistan, Ch Fawad Hussain took to Twitter and wrote that the reason for Sri Lankan players pulling out of the tournament was related to India.
He tweeted, “Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ‘ll be ousted from IPL if they don’t refuse Pak visit, this is a really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities”.
He even claimed that India could have used threats that the Sri Lankan players would lose their IPL contracts if they travelled to Pakistan.