Sri Lanka to become first major cricket team to visit Pakistan following deadly ambush in 2009


LAHORE: Tens of thousands of security will be deployed in Lahore on Sunday when Sri Lanka become the first major cricket team to visit Pakistan since they were targeted in a deadly ambush in 2009 — with attack survivors among those returning to the scene.

Several Sri Lankan players and officials, including their head coach, have opted out of the Twenty20 fixture, after some voiced concern about security.

But Asanka Gurusinha and Hashan Tillakaratne, who came under gunfire in 2009 and are now Sri Lanka´s team manager and batting coach, will be with the squad as it is shuttled in and out of Lahore´s Gaddafi Stadium under heavy guard.

Pakistan´s Ahsan Raza, a reserve umpire in 2009 who was among those shot — and needed emergency surgery to repair a collapsed lung and damaged liver — will also be on the field.

Eight people were killed and eight wounded in the March 3, 2009 attack on Sri Lanka´s bus convoy near the Gaddafi Stadium, an incident which brought cricket tours to Pakistan screeching to a halt.

Eight years later, Sri Lanka will become the first top cricket nation to play in Pakistan since the incident, accelerating a gradual resumption of international fixtures as security improves.


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