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Sri Lanka optimistic about saving Pakistan tour

Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Mohan de Silva said he was satisfied with the security arrangements of their hosts, but reports last week of a possible terror attack had been referred to the defence ministry for investigation.

FILE: A high-level security delegation member of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) secretary Mohan De Silva (L) speaks to media with a Pakistan cricket official after visiting the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium to assess the possibility of staging two cricket test matches, in Lahore on 8 August 2019. Picture: AFP

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's cricket board remains hopeful of going ahead with its tour of Pakistan but will await the final all-clear from the defence ministry, an official said Wednesday.

Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Mohan de Silva said he was satisfied with the security arrangements of their hosts, but reports last week of a possible terror attack had been referred to the defence ministry for investigation.

The Sri Lanka team was the target of an attack during a Test match in Pakistan's Lahore in March 2009. Six Sri Lankan players were injured when gunmen attacked their bus. Six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were killed.

Since the attack, a majority of international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country.

Sri Lanka played one T20 match against Pakistan at Lahore in October 2017.

De Silva told AFP: "Earlier last month I visited Pakistan along with our security consultant and we were satisfied with the arrangements.

"They have promised security reserved for a head of state."

The six-match tour, due to start on September 27, was put on hold last week after Sri Lanka's prime minister's office warned the board that it had unspecified information about a possible attack against its players.

Sri Lanka Cricket did not call off the tour, but instead asked the government to reassess the security situation and make a final determination about the fate of the tournament.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said it was not aware of any information relating to the safety of the Sri Lankan team, but has reiterated its commitment to provide security.

Ten senior players have opted out of the tour citing security concerns.

Sri Lanka has already announced two squads for the three One-Day Internationals and the three T20 matches starting 27 September.

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