KARACHI: The non-seasonal torrential rains in the city threatened the innovative one-day international series here as Pakistan prepared to receive Sri Lanka in the first of three games at the National Stadium on Friday.
With the paramount importance given to security measures, similar to what the head of state and the VVIPs normally receive, the resumption of the full-day internationals would be the most important step towards the return of international cricket to Pakistan afterwards. almost ten years old
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed endorsed the views of Misbah-ul-Haq, head coach of the national team and selection chief, the other day the former captain praised the steps taken by the government, the PCB and the agencies of security to guarantee cricket without incident and exciting for the home. fans.
“We just can't wait for the series to start because only a few of us have played in ODI matches against the local audience. My last game of this kind here was in 2008 during the Asian Cup and Wahab Riaz is the only other player who has played an ODI in Karachi, ”Sarfraz said at the pre-series press conference at the National Stadium on Thursday. "For me, it would be a time of great emotion to lead Pakistan for the first time in a one-day International against [my] supporters of the hometown. This will definitely be a very proud moment of my career.
"I am sure that the series will be a great example that Pakistan is a very good host, something that other countries such as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and England should take note and think about touring Pakistan in the near future," said the captain. . "It is unthinkable to talk about international cricket without Pakistan being an integral part of the community."
It is only appropriate that Sri Lanka once again be the opponents, since they were in January 2009 when two matches of a three-game rubber were organized in this place during that fateful tour when the visiting team members suffered terrorist attacks on their way to Gaddafi's stadium in Lahore on the morning of day three of the second test.
If the match starts on time as scheduled, this would be the first ODI in Karachi after a huge gap of exactly 3901 days, which amounts to 10 years, eight months and six unimaginable days, as Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan for 129 races in the second match on the way to winning the 2-1 series.
Between these barren years, Pakistan organized a three-party ODI series against Zimbabwe in Lahore in May 2015, but this Sri Lankan series here counts as the first important and historic step towards the resumption of first-class cricket at home .
"Of course, this took a long time to arrive, but we should be proud of the fact that our cricket fans finally have the opportunity to see their stars playing in front of their own eyes," Sarfraz added while stating that Pakistan would not take the new look Sri Lanka lightly. "They may lack the experience of many of the best players, but we still have to play cricket very well to achieve our goals and that is to win the series."
With nine of the main regular stars jumping the tour for safety reasons and the young and right-handed hitter Kusal Mendis sidelined by an injury, Sri Lanka has named the experienced left-handed batter Lahiru Thirimanne as the ODI captain against Pakistan here with all terrain. Dasun Shanaka appointed to lead the islanders in the three Twenty20 Internationals in Lahore from next week.
The young and talented team from Sri Lanka, despite the absence of characters such as Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Dimuth Karunaratne (Regular Test and ODI), Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Perera, have the Surprise potential the home side.
The batting would focus mainly on Thirimanne, 30, who has accumulated 3,158 runs so far with 35.08 in 135 one-day Internationals, and Avishka Fernando. The 21-year-old was one of the emerging stars of this year's ICC World Cup with a flawless entry of 104 against the West Indies in Chester-le-Street and exceeded his team's batting averages (50.75) in four matches.
Compared to his batting, Sri Lanka has a decent bowling attack with Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha providing sewing and rhythm, and left owner Isuru Udana adding the variety along with the unorthodox left-hand spinner Lakshan Sandakan and the utility SUVs. in Shanaka, Angelo Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya and the young Wanindu Hasaranga.
Thirimanne, while addressing the media on Thursday, praised the security arrangements and said the upcoming games will give his players the opportunity to claim future elections when the main stars are available.
"I would say that this series against a very good team from Pakistan is a good challenge for us, given the fact that we have come here with a relatively inexperienced team." But at the same time, we must also respect the decision made by top Sri Lankan players not to travel. It's not about personal decisions because you have to talk about these things with your families before making this kind of decision, "Thirimanne said.
"Our cricket board [Sri Lanka Cricket] provided us with security plans [beforehand] for this trip and what we will get here. Personally, I didn't worry about doing the tour.
“The focus must be on cricket rather than security. The boys are really ready and ready to go. Regarding the challenge we will face on the field of play, I must say that we will face a very good team since Pakistan has named its best [possible] team. But we are going to focus on our performance because we have many young people and, obviously, it is a good opportunity for them to present themselves and show their talent, ”he added.
Overall, Pakistan enjoys overwhelming supremacy over Sri Lanka with 90 victories from 153 one-day Internationals since 1975 and losing 58 while one game is tied and four yielding without result, including the 2019 World Cup draw in Bristol last June .
At the end of the afternoon, when the rains stayed away, both teams had sessions at the far end of the stadium, but the garden seemed definitely soaked under the foot.
PAKISTAN: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Usman Khan Shinwari.
SRI LANKA: Lahiru Thirimanne (captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Oshada Fernando, Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Angelo Perera, Minod Bhanuka, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Kuitks, Lah Kuitmara, Lah Kukshan Kukshan, Lahirukan.
Referees: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan) and Joel Wilson (West Indies).
TV Referee: Michael Gough (England).
Referee of the match: David Boon (Australia).
Posted on Dawn, September 27, 2019