Sumathipala calls on Asian cricket chiefs to stand together for cricket -says Sri Lanka will travel to Pakistan later this year

13th August 2017

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) concluded its 33rd Annual General Meeting at the Mövenpick, Colombo yesterday(12).

The meeting which was chaired by newly appointed Chairman Mr. Najam Sethi – Chairman PCB, was attended by representatives of 19 countries, and was the second time the meetings were hosted in Colombo since the ACC Headquarters were established here in August 2016.

Speaking at a Formal dinner held last evening Development Committee Chairman and host Hon. Thilanga Sumathipala welcomed the delegates and spoke about the changing global cricketing landscape –

“Cricket is a game of change, chance and chase” he said. “the game today, and its following is very different to what it was 10 years ago and as administrators we are faced with a different set of challenges to overcome”

“World Cricket is in the hands of the unity of Asia. We need to respectfully understand each other’s problems and stand by each other. This is the spirit of the Asian Cricket Council”

“I am keen to take my team to Pakistan” he continued “we have had our security experts visit and make an assessment, and things look positive with things improving all over the country and especially Lahore being cleared. We have three T20 games coming up against Pakistan in September and we would like to play at least one of those games in Lahore”

“I call upon each one of you as members to play your role and give Pakistan the security of your support. There is always risk – there were two attacks in London during the Champions trophy, but cricket continued under the security assurances if the ICC, so likewise we too must be as accommodating and understanding as possible with our members and extend our fullest support to them as the cricketing family of Asia.”

“The opportunities available throughout the Asian region for the development of this game that is so close to our hearts is enormous. The efforts and the investment of our member countries are phenomenal and we need to support this development”

Sri Lanka suffered through 3 decades of terrorism and war and at one stage no one wanted to come here – Pakistan stood by us then, as did India.

The values of the game need to be the priority – not always economics, dollars and opportunities. Let the unity of Asia be the prosperity of global cricket” he concluded.

Responding to Hon. Sumathipala’s words, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman and now ACC chief Mr. Najam Sethi expounded on the state-of-the-art security and surveillance systems in place in Pakistan and explained that Pakistan was a member of the “Safe-City” initiative at an estimated cost of (P)Rs. 10 Billion.

He explained that Safe City is a new paradigm to help modern cities combat crime, terrorism and the rising cost of manpower by combining the street patrolman’s intuitive approach with state-of-the-art observation, communication, and information management.

Sri Lanka will play at least one of the three-T20 games in Lahore in September this year if all logistical and operational plans fall in place.