Cape Town - Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala has vowed
to always support Pakistan in their efforts to get regular international
cricket back to the country.
The Sri Lanka side were the first top side to play an
international match in Pakistan on Sunday with the hosts winning the third T20I
of the series in Lahore to seal a clean sweep.
The visitors were given presidential security arrangements
with the game going off without any major incidents and Sumathipala said
Pakistan stood by his country when they were facing tough times.
Sumathipala told reporters in Lahore: "Since we have
experienced more than 30 years of war, we know what isolation means.
"We have gone through more than 30 years of war in Sri
Lanka, but Pakistan has never cancelled a single game of cricket which we
agreed to play against each other in Sri Lanka.
"There are various [types of] people. We appeal to them
to keep children, women, religious places and sports aside. Leave us alone, let
us play our game of cricket in peace and harmony.
"We want to enjoy the game of cricket and give everyone
opportunities and a chance to share our happiness in the game."
It was significant that Sri Lanka played in Pakistan as they
were the last top side to tour the country in 2009 when gunmen attacked their
Last month the first steps were taken to revive
international cricket in Pakistan when a World XI, with Sri Lanka's Thisara
Perera included, played three T20s in Lahore.
Sumathipala continued: "Good or bad, Pakistan cricket
and the government of Pakistan have stood by Sri Lanka.
"This is not a matter of just government. As you all
understand, since the last incident was against Sri Lanka, the sentiments were
quite different. We thought we should take the initiative and support Pakistan
"If Pakistan is weak in cricket, Asian cricket will be
weaker and that will make world cricket weaker and weaker. Your strength is our
strength and it's our responsibility to look after each other. We strongly
believe in that."