Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar. (Credit: Getty Images)

Former Pakistan pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar has slammed Sri Lankan players who have decided against travelling to Pakistan. Pakistan’s hopes of hosting a star-studded T20I series at home have been dealt a huge blow after ten Sri Lankan decided not to travel to the country citing security reasons.

Consequently, Sri Lanka have lost a considerable amount of firepower for the upcoming tour. The Islanders have been compelled to name a second string side. With regular captains also out of the series, Sri Lanka have named two new captains. While Lahiru Thirimanne will lead the ODI side, Dasun Shanaka has been named skipper for the T20I side.

Among those who opted out are Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne.

Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga (Credits: Twitter)

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Shoaib Akhtar has now come down hard on the Sri Lankan players for their decision. The legendary pacer reminded the players of how Pakistan have always come forward to help Sri Lankan cricket.

“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,” wrote Shoaib Akhtar.

“And ofcourse 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 added.

Pakistan, nonetheless, are still waiting to host a Test series on their soil since 2009. It was in 2009 that the Sri Lankan team bus came under militant attack in Lahore during the tour. Since then, most of the international teams have decided against visiting Pakistan. Things have changed in recent times as the likes of West Indies and Sri Lanka visited the country.