Colombo - Sri Lanka's sports minister announced on Wednesday
he would join the national cricket team on their first match in Pakistan since
gunmen attacked their team bus in Lahore eight years ago.
Dayasiri Jayasekara said Sri Lanka was satisfied with
security preparations for the Twenty20 final in Lahore later in October despite
reservations from some players.
"It is safe for our team. I am accompanying them to
demonstrate that it is safe for us," Jayasekara told reporters in Colombo.
"The ICC (International Cricket Council) has also said
it is safe for us to tour Pakistan."
Several top players have pulled out of the three-match
series starting Thursday in the United Arab Emirates, concerned about security
when the final shifts to Lahore on October 29.
Sources close to Sri Lanka's cricket board say coach Nic
Pothas will also not join the squad in Lahore.
It will be Sri Lanka's first visit to Pakistan since 2009
when gunmen opened fire on their squad bus, killing eight people and injuring
seven visiting team members and support staff.
No top international side has played in Pakistan since the
Players who expressed concerns about security - including
batsman Chamara Kapugedara and bowler Suranga Lakmal, who survived the 2009
assault - have been dropped from the series.
Skipper Upul Tharanga, fast bowler Lasith Malinga and
batsmen Niroshan Dickwella have also been left out of the squad.
On Saturday Sri Lanka made 28-year-old all-rounder Thisara
Perera the captain of the T20 squad.
He had toured Pakistan as a member of a World XI for a
three-match Twenty20 international series played in Lahore last month.
That series was part of Pakistani efforts to bring
international cricket back to the country.
Pakistan hosted Zimbabwe for a five-match limited overs
series in 2015 but top teams have refused to tour there, forcing Pakistan to
play home matches in neutral venues in the UAE.
Sri Lanka Cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala will also
travel to Lahore with the team.