After the 2019 World Cup, Pakistan hasn’t played any form of international cricket. In their next assignment, the men in green will locking horns with Sri Lanka for three ODIs and as many T20Is. In the schedule, the ODIs will be played earlier as the National Stadium in Karachi followed by the T20Is at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. It’ll be the first time after 2009 when Lankans will be playing a full-fledged series in Pakistan.
In recent times, there were rumors that Sarfraz Ahmed will lose his captaincy, but he has been retained as the skipper of the national team for the home series. His poor performance in the World Cup raised quite a few questions about his ability to lead the side and opened the floodgates for some severe criticism and brickbats and even abuses.
The limited-overs series is a chance for Sarfraz to earn the faith of the selectors. Babar Azam, the top-order batsman, has been named as his deputy according to the reports in Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) official website. Babar has arguably been Pakistan’s most reliable batsmen, especially in ODIs and T20Is and was a crucial cog in the World Cup. He also did well for Somerset in the T20 Blast.
As far as the upcoming series is concerned, it got a green signal from the security delegation of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Despite that, 10 of the cricketers, including the likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews decided to boycott the series. Hence, the visitors were literally compelled to name a depleted squad.
Sarfaraz has expressed his views on the issue and asked for support from the other cricketing nations. He talked about how Pakistan sent its junior team to Sri Lanka after the Easter bombings earlier this year. Recently, the SLC confirmed that their Prime Minister has received a threat of attack on the visiting team in Pakistan. That incident has also put the series under the clouds.
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Test cricket hasn’t taken place in Pakistan ever since the bus attack on the Sri Lankan team outside the Gaddafi Stadium in 2009. Later this year, the two nations are also scheduled to play a couple of matches in the ICC World Test Championship and it’s not known where the games will take place.