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'Regret not coming for the shorter formats' - Karunaratne feels Pakistan is safe for cricket
Sri Lanka Tour of Pakistan

'Regret not coming for the shorter formats' - Karunaratne feels Pakistan is safe for cricket

Dimuth Karunaratne has lamented his earlier decision to pull out of the limited-overs leg of the Pakistan tour in September-October.

The Sri Lanka skipper was one of the 10 senior players who missed the series in Karachi and Lahore owing to security concerns.

Sri Lanka had to name Lahiru Thirimanne as the substitute leader for the three ODIs in the absence of regular captain Karunaratne.

The 31-year-old opening batsman was later convinced to make the trip to Pakistan for the two Tests following good reports from fellow teammates regarding their experience during the white-ball fixtures.

“Yes, I regret not coming for the shorter formats but at that time, it was a really hard decision to take because I had never been in Pakistan and heard lots of about Pakistan in news and social media – which were not positive," Karunaratne told reporters on the eve of the second Test in Karachi.

"Once the guys who came here gave really good comments, all the seniors decided to go and play the Test series. Now I feel like I should have come and played the one-dayers.”

Pakistan's journey towards the full-scale resumption of top-flight cricket has been boosted with the confirmation of a tour from the Kumar Sangakkara-led MCC team next year.

Meanwhile, the fate of the Bangladesh tour of Pakistan scheduled in January is subject to a security assessment from their government.

“I can’t appeal to the Bangladesh team, but I can say that for me, it is really safe. The guys who are giving us security, they will give more than 100% and that is why we feel really good," Karunaratne said.

"We went out for dinner as well. For me and my team, they feel really safe here. Pakistan is now safe for cricket.”

Test cricket returns to Karachi's National Stadium for the first time in 10 years with the last match at this ground seeing Younis Khan slam a terrific triple ton against Sri Lanka.

Also Read: Test cricket's return to Karachi and the 10-year wait

Karunaratne, though, said he was not wary of the history at this venue and set his sights at a series win away from home.

"Most of the guys are travelling the first time here. I'm still collecting the stats [at this gorund] and everything.

"It’s not easy when you don’t have the home advantage but I think if you’re doing correct things at the right time, it won’t be very difficult. If you want to stay in the game, you have to compete in every session."

The compact shot-maker also offered an explanation for the Sri Lanka batters' lack of patience at the crease - an issue highlighted after their shock Test defeat to New Zealand in August.

“In Sri Lanka, it’s not easy to bat since there a lot of turning tracks. The guys there are then focused on trying to score runs quickly. Once you get to the international level, it’s not easy as you face all the best bowlers.

"We lack patience in both batting and bowling departments. This is the reality you should get accustomed to swiftly," he concluded.