x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tillakaratne Dilshan will never play cricket in Pakistan

The Sri Lanka captain says he would not play cricket in Pakistan again after an invitation for his side to return to the troubled nation, two years after they were attacked there, was rejected.

CARDIFF // Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, said he would not play cricket in Pakistan again after an invitation for his side to return to the troubled nation, two years after they were attacked there, was rejected.

Dilshan was on the Sri Lanka team bus which was shot at by militants in Lahore in March 2009. The attack killed eight people and injured seven members of the tour party.

Asked if he would ever go back to Pakistan with Sri Lanka, Dilshan — leading the team in the first Test against England that starts in Cardiff tomorrow — said: "I don't think so. It was a bad experience for me as a cricketer in Pakistan.

"As a player, I don't want to go through the same experience in the future.

"My personal view, I don't want to go back to play cricket there."

The Pakistan Cricket Board announced at the weekend they had invited Sri Lanka to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and one Twenty20 game in a series proposed for October.

However, the invitation was turned down by Sri Lanka Cricket chairman DS de Silva, who said yesterday: "The circumstances, with regards to security, don't allow us to play matches there. Even the ICC [International Cricket Council] has not given us security clearance."

Since the attack, no major nation has toured Pakistan, forcing the country to play their "home" series in the UAE, England and New Zealand.

Afghanistan became the first foreign squad to arrive in Pakistan following the attack on the Sri Lankan players in a three-match one-day series against Pakistan's second string, with the first taking place today.

The Afghan's fought hard before losing by five wickets against Pakistan A.

Pakistan bowled out Afghanistan for 152 in 37.3 overs but the home team's batsmen struggled against some tidy Afghanistan bowling — particularly from the fast bowler Dawlat Zadran took three for 45 — before reaching their target with five wickets spare in 39.5 overs.

Mohammed Nabi, the vice-captain, top scored with 72 off 75 balls and helped Afghanistan recover from 94 for eight.

The Pakistan A opening batsman Sharjeel Khan (47) hit eight fours and a six in his gritty knock to steer his side to victory.