Pak vs Afg ODI series in peril as Sri Lanka imposes nationwide lockdown
Statesman Report
LAHORE: The Pakistan-Afghanistan one-day international (ODI) series is in peril as Sri Lanka — the host country — imposed a nationwide lockdown on Friday, bowing to intense pressure from medical experts. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had resisted calls for a lockdown for weeks, agreed to the 10-day closure after dire warnings that hospitals could no longer cope with the inflow of COVID-19 patients. Sources informed Geo News on Saturday that the final decision over the series would be taken today, but the chances of it taking place are bleak. Pakistan had earlier offered to host the series in the country, but Afghanistan had rejected the proposal, sources said, after which it was decided that Afghanistan would host it in Sri Lanka. The Pakistan Cricket Board has already delayed the ODI squad announcement as the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) failed to chalk out the schedule and travel plan for the series. The ACB’s delay came in the backdrop of the evolving situation in Afghanistan, as the Taliban have taken over the country — prompting confusion and compelling countries to evacuate their citizens. A PCB spokesperson, speaking to Geo.tv, said the ODI series between the two neighbouring countries was scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka from September 3 to 9. The spokesperson said the board planned to start the training camp for the series from August 21 to 28, but since the Afghan board has failed to do its job so far, PCB plans to hold on to the squad announcement and training camp. "We do not want to incur additional expenses.”