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Sri Lanka tour of Pakistan

The focus is on cricket rather than security, says Thirimanne

Lahiru Thirimanne stressed the focus of the Pakistan-Sri Lanka series needed to shift towards cricket itself rather than the security arrangements in place.

Addressing the media ahead of the first ODI in Karachi on Friday, the Sri Lankan captain lauded the security in Pakistan.

“The security we've got here I must say it’s first class, we didn’t have any problems,” the 30-year-old said.

He revealed Sri Lanka Cricket had shared the security plan with the players ahead of the tour, which eventually convinced him to make the trip.

"I heard from the players who previously visited Pakistan for a T20 match that the security was really good. Last couple of days, I have experienced it."

Sri Lanka's depleted squad, bereft of the services of ten top players who pulled out of the tour owing to security fears, arrived in the country's most populous city on Tuesday.

The team was accompanied by tight security and Thirimanne joked the squad members were busy playing either FIFA or carrom in their hotel rooms as they were not allowed to go outside.

The two-week tour of Pakistan comprising six limited-overs fixtures is the longest such tour in the country since the horrific terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009.

'It's about getting cricket back in Pakistan'

Thirimanne backed the calls for resumption of regular international cricket in Pakistan and hoped Sri Lanka's tour could mould the narrative in the favour of their hosts.

Also Read: Misbah wants cricket world to help revive international cricket in Pakistan

“It’s about getting cricket here in Pakistan again so we have to encourage all the teams to come here and play cricket,” Thirimanne said.

The left-handed batsman admitted Pakistan's strong unit posed a challenge to Sri Lanka's relatively inexperienced squad but felt this could spur the players into action and prove themselves on the big occasion.

"Regarding the challenge we are getting here; I must say that Pakistan has named their best side. The thing is we'll have a lot of youngsters, it is a good opportunity for them to come up and showcase their talent.

"A lot of them are under 25 years of age and they don't have any pressure. We have a good chance if we play to our potential."

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