Ranatunga vows to help bring cricket back to Pakistan
Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has vowed to play “any role in any capacity” to help bring cricket back to Pakistan, four years after a deadly terrorist attack on his compatriots put a stop to international fixtures in the country.
“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 in an interview.
The March 3, 2009, attack on the Sri Lanka team bus left eight people dead and several players wounded and put a stop to international cricket in Pakistan.
Ranatunga, however, felt Pakistan needed to prepare a comprehensive security plan and take the International Cricket Council and other countries on board with it.
“They must work hard on preparing an airtight security plan and move forward. I will do anything in my power in Sri Lanka to get the players to tour Pakistan again,” he said while adding Pakistan cricket needs to move on now as four years have passed since the incident happened.
As president of the Asian Cricket Council in 2008, Ranatunga said he had played a big role in holding Asia Cup despite prevalent security concerns in Pakistan at that time.
“I think the sort of security Pakistan provided to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other teams in that tournament was the best. And if that sort of security is guaranteed for teams playing in Pakistan I am sure international cricket can be revived in Pakistan,” he said.
Ranatunga said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka had always had close relations and needed to continue to foster them.
“They have always helped and supported us. 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,” he recalled.
“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,” he said.