Wednesday Sep 29, 2021
Sri Lankan pacer Isuru Udana is desperate to play in Pakistan, as he said that the country is safe to hold cricket tournaments days after England had cancelled their tour to Pakistan following New Zealand, which had cited a “security alert”.
“Pakistan is a safe place to play cricket for sure. Can't wait to visit [Pakistan] play with my Pakistani brothers,” the pacer, who announced his retirement from international cricket on 31 July, said in a tweet.
The 33-year-old has played 56 matches for Sri Lanka, picking 45 wickets, and was part of the home series against India, in which Sri Lanka secured the T20I series 2-1 while losing the ODIs by the same margin.
Udana debuted for Sri Lanka in 2009, but only became a mainstay of the side in the latter half of the last decade. He was also a handy batsman, scoring a half-century in both ODIs and T20Is. The latter was a particularly fiery knock – a 48-ball 84* against South Africa in 2019.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Chairman Ian Watmore had finally spoken to the board's decision of cancelling the Pakistan tour recently, apologising to Pakistanis hurt by it.
These were Watmore's first public comments after England called off the Pakistan series, inviting anger from the PCB and cricket fans around the globe.
"I'm very sorry to anyone who feels hurt or let down by our decision, particularly in Pakistan," he said. "The decision the board made was an extremely difficult one and the board made it with the primary consideration being the welfare and mental health of our players and staff."
Former English cricketers, commentators and journalists have all criticised the ECB for cancelling the October tour when there were no justifiable excuses to do so.