Ranatunga assures help in reviving cricket in Pakistan

Lahore: Four years since the dreaded terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers here, team`s former captain Arjuna Ranatunga said that he is willing to help Pakistan in reviving international cricket.

"One can understand what the players went through and what they think about playing in Pakistan but I am ready to play any role in any capacity to help in the revival of international cricket in this wonderful place," Ranatunga told a Pakistani channel from Colombo.

On March 3, 2009 the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists while they were on their way to the Gaddafi stadium for the third day of the Lahore Test.

Since that day teams have shunned touring Pakistan while the ICC has also not held any of their events.

Ranatunga feels that Pakistan needs to prepare a comprehensive security plan and discuss it with the ICC and its member boards.

"They must work hard on preparing an airtight security plan and move forward. I will do anything in my power in Sri Lanka to get the players to tour Pakistan again," he said while adding Pakistan cricket needs to move on now as four years have passed since the incident happened.

As President of the Asian Cricket Council in 2008, Ranatunga said he had played a big role in holding Asia Cup despite prevalent security concerns at that time.

"I think the sort of security Pakistan provided to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other teams in that tournament was the best. And if that sort of security is guaranteed for teams playing in Pakistan I am sure international cricket can be revived in Pakistan," he said.

Ranatunga said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka had always had close relations.

"They have always helped and supported us. I remember in the 1996 World Cup when the Tamil issue was going on, West Indies and Australia refused to play in Sri Lanka but Pakistan and India sent a team to make a point it was safe to play in Sri Lanka," he recalled.

"It is unfortunate and terrible for Pakistan cricket but I am sure even today given the relations both countries have, a tour by Sri Lanka could be possible," he said.