The captain of Sri Lanka cricket team, Lahiru Thirimanne, gave a thumbs up to the security in Pakistan and termed the arrangements “first-class”.
Speaking to media here ahead of Sri Lanka’s one-day international (ODI) series against Pakistan, the Sri Lanka captain said his side would play their best cricket and that the players’ focus was only on the game and not the security.
Thirimanne, 30, who is leading Sri Lanka’s ODI squad, said: “The security has been really good and I must say it’s first-class. We didn’t have any problems. The facilities here are really good.
“Actually, we are not allowed to go out from the hotel [so] we get together and playing some FIFA and playing some carom. The focus should be on cricket rather than the security. The boys are really focused and ready to go,” he added.
The visiting team’s ODI captain added that it was a good challenge for Sri Lanka’s young players to play in Pakistan. They would give their best in the next three games against a top-quality side, he said, adding that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had shared with them the security plan and that he did not have any concerns about it.
“The challenge we are getting here, it’s a very good side. I must say that Pakistan has named their best side, so, yes, the thing is we’ll have lot of youngsters [and, therefore,] it’s a good opportunity for them to come up and showcase their talent,” Thirimanne said.
Noting that it was his first time in Pakistan, he explained that he “heard from the players who visited here previously on the T20 [Twenty20] matches two years back”.
He added: “The security was really great so I heard about it but I didn’t see anything. But the last couple of days, when I see the security we’ve been given here, it’s first-class.
“It’s about getting cricket here in Pakistan again so we have to encourage all the teams to come here and play cricket,” Thirimanne added.
The Sri Lankan captain mentioned that although a lot of his squad’s youngsters were younger than 25, they had been playing domestic cricket for long. He said: “It’s an opportunity for them, they don’t have any pressure, they don’t have any previous things to think about so they are fresh. I think we have a good chance if we play to our potential. “I’ve been given lot of all-rounders and I am happy with that team that I’ve got. We have to make use of all the all-rounders, batting, bowling, and also, we have younger players so the fielding must be very good and we are looking forward” to it, he said.
In response to a question, the Sri Lankan captain said it felt good to be part of something that was historic and crucial for cricket in Pakistan. “It’s a very special occasion for all of Pakistan,” he said.
“The Pakistan Cricket Board have been really great [at] organising this tournament here in Pakistan so I think … like I said, we have to give all the support to Pakistan to establish cricket here,” he added.
“I can only say that I’ve experienced [the security] here because I came here and I saw the security plan so I can only say that. The thing is that you have to first come here and experience that and it’s a good opportunity,” he stressed.
After Sri Lanka cricket team’s visit, “maybe a lot of teams will come, a lot of teams will follow us and support Pakistan,” Thirimanne commented hopefully.—Agencies