Alongside several first team senior players, Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas had earlier declared his decision to not travel to Lahore for the 3rd T-20 match against Pakistan later this month. Pothas was joined by seven first team players and team’s physiotherapist Nirmalan Dhanabalasingham in the list of people not touring Pakistan.
The players were faced with a conundrum when the board announced that they’ll play the same squad in the 3 T-20I matches which means that if a player disagrees to go to Lahore, he’ll actually miss the whole series. The first two matches will take place in Abu Dhabi. The 3rd match being played in Lahore is an attempt of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s to bring back international cricket in Pakistan, something that hasn’t happened since 2009 when the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists during the test series.
Pothas said, “It was a family decision. My family is not very happy about me going. For me my family comes first. Everyone get a chance to make their own decisions. No one should be forced to do anything that they are not comfortable with. It was not an easy decision to make. It has to be respected. Some Pakistani media earlier today reminded me that several South Africans had gone to Lahore last month for the World XI games. It was their decision. Their decision doesn’t influence my decision. Ideally the Board wanted everyone to go. But no one pressurised me to do anything”.
Unlike the players, Pothas will be there with the team in the first two T-20 matches. Someone within the coaching staff, preferably Fast Bowling Coach Rumesh Ratnayake or former captain Hashan Thilakaratne will take charge of the Lahore match.