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I am not mentally ready to go to Pakistan: Upul Tharanga

Sri Lanka have lost the ODI series 0-5 to Pakistan.

Upul Tharanga
Sri Lanka cricketer Upul Tharanga. (Photo credit Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lankan limited overs skipper Upul Tharanga won’t be traveling to Pakistan for the 3rd T20I between the two sides, as he feels he hasn’t been able to flush the horrific experience of the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus outside the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore. Apart from Zimbabwe, no other Test playing nation visited the country post the 2009 incident.

SLC have appointed all-rounder Thisara Perera as the stand-in captain for the T20I series against Pakistan. Apart from their regular skipper, the visitors will be without the likes of Lasith Malinga and Dinesh Chandimal. Tharanga is currently under-fire after his side faced its third 5-0 whitewash this year.

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Freedom to the players

“It was an individual decision. We chatted to 40 to 45 players and we didn’t force anyone to go or not to go. Once the board informed us that we are playing in Lahore, we made a request to change the venue. SLC told us that they are going ahead with the game. We had a chat and we decided to give the freedom to the players to decide,” as quoted by cricbuzz.

He went on to say that he looks forward to visiting the cricket loving nation in the near future. “Personally why I opted not to go was, in 2009, I was in the team although I wasn’t present in Lahore when the shooting happened. Just before that I was part of the ODI side that went and played in Pakistan. The shooting happened a few weeks later. Back of my mind, the incident troubles me and I am not mentally ready to go to Pakistan at the moment. However, if there’s an opportunity in the future, I will certainly consider. SLC chatted to us on the issue. But no pressure was put on us. They understood the mental status of the players,” he concluded.

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