Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar has openly expressed his disappointment over the decision of Sri Lankan players to opting out of the upcoming tour to Pakistan for the ODI and T20I series, beginning from September 27. Top Lankan players including the likes of legendary Lasith Malinga, veteran Angelo Mathews and young star – Niroshan Dickwella were among the 10 cricketers deciding to pull out of the series versus Pakistan.
Expressing his disappointment, Akhtar reminded the islanders as how Pakistan has “always been a huge support for SL cricket”. Akhtar wrote on his official Twitter handle: “So disappointed with the 10 Sri Lankan players who have pulled out of Pakistan tour. Pakistan has always been a huge support for SL cricket. Recently after deadly Easter Attacks in SL, our Under-19 team was sent on tour there, being the first international team to volunteer.”
On September 9, Sri Lanka cricket board announced the ODI and T20I squads barring the big names. Apart from Malinga and Mathews, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne opted out of the tour as their families were reportedly uncomfortable with the tour.
In another tweet, Akhtar said they expect reciprocation from Sri Lanka.
“And of course who can forget the 1996 World Cup when Australia & West Indies refused to tour Sri Lanka. Pakistan sent a combined team with India to play a friendly match in Colombo. We expect reciprocation from Sri Lanka. Their board is cooperating, players should also,” he tweeted.
The series is slated to commence from September 27 when Pakistan will face Sri Lanka for the first ODI.