Ranatunga is committed to helping revive international cricket in Pakistan
Even after watching his country’s national team come under attack by armed militants in March 2009, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has announced that he is ready to do anything to help bring international cricket back to Pakistan.
“One can understand what the players went through and what they think about playing in Pakistan but I am ready to play any role in any capacity to help in the revival of international cricket in this wonderful place,” Ranatunga said.
Since that fateful day, no international team has dared step foot into Pakistan and the national team have been forced to play all of their ‘home’ series in the United Arab Emirates.
The first step Pakistan have to take, according to Ranatunga, is to develop a solid security plan, which will be presented to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other cricket boards.
“They must work hard on preparing an airtight security plan and move forward,” Ranatunga said. “I will do anything in my power in Sri Lanka to get the players to tour Pakistan again.”
Ranatunga believes he has the expertise to help Pakistan since there were numerous security concerns that arose during the 2008 Asia Cup, but, under Ranatunga’s watchful eye as president of the Asian Cricket Council, the tournament went ahead.
“I think the sort of security Pakistan provided to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other teams in that tournament was the best,” Ranatunga added. “And if that sort of security is guaranteed for teams playing in Pakistan I am sure international cricket can be revived in Pakistan.”
Despite all international teams keeping their distance from Pakistan, Ranatunga insists that Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always had a close and healthy relationship.
“They have always helped and supported us,” he said. “I remember in the 1996 World Cup when the Tamil issue was going on, West Indies and Australia refused to play in Sri Lanka but Pakistan and India sent a team to make a point it was safe to play in Sri Lanka.
“It is unfortunate and terrible for Pakistan cricket but I am sure even today given the relations both countries have, a tour by Sri Lanka could be possible.”