Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) named a new-look 16-man squad for the three-match T20I series against Pakistan which includes a visit to Lahore for the final match.
The two sides are currently battling it out in a five-match ODI series in the UAE which will be followed by the three T20Is.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had reached an agreement with SLC to play the third T20I at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore instead of the UAE.
However, it was later reported that around 40 contracted Sri Lankan players had signed their name on a letter addressed to the board which indicated that they were apprehensive about travelling to Pakistan.
A few days earlier, SLC confirmed that the match at Lahore will go ahead after consultations with the ICC and independent security experts.
It seems though that several players still remained unconvinced about the Pakistan tour and as such the governing body has named a squad of players willing to make the trip to Lahore.
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) October 21, 2017
SLC selection committee chief Graeme Labrooy indicated that it would be unfair on the players who are willing to travel to sit out for the first two matches.
“The understanding is that we choose the same squad for the series, in fairness to the players who have put their hands up for the Lahore match,” Labrooy said.
With quite a few first-team players still on the fence, in the end it was a second-string squad which was announced by the board on Saturday with all-rounder Thisara Perera named as the captain.
Perera was part of the ICC World XI which toured Pakistan for a historic three-match series earlier in September.
It was the Sri Lankan team bus which had come under attack from armed gunmen in Lahore during their tour to the country in 2009. Since then, international teams have shunned touring the country with Pakistan playing its home games in the UAE.
Following the recent successful tour of the ICC World XI to Pakistan for the three-match T20 series, expectations of the international isolation being broken had been raised among the PCB.
India are set to take on New Zealand in the first of the three-match ODI series at the Wankhede stadium, Mumbai on Sunday.
Virat Kohli’s men have only recently been dislodged by South Africa as the top-ranked one-day team but they have the opportunity of reclaiming that honour if they can complete a 3-0 sweep of the Kiwis.
India have recently come off a 4-1 win over Australia in the ODI series before drawing the T20I series 1-1.
The Black Caps on the other hand have not played any limited-overs matches since bowing out in the group-stages in the ICC Champions Trophy earlier this summer.
As the two sides prepare to go head-to-head, we look at the two key players from either to keep an eye on.
India’s latest all-round sensation has created quite a reputation for himself since making his debut almost a year earlier against the same opposition.
Since then, Pandya’s game has come on leaps and bounds and he has continued to show why he was such hot property in the IPL.
Having now earned a Test cap for India too, Pandya’s greatest strength still lies in his aggressive and belligerent hitting down the order having hit 28 sixes already in the 26 matches he has played so far.
The 24-year-old was mighty impressive against Australia in the ODI series where he scored two half-centuries and chipped in with some vital wickets. He will be looking to continue that form against the Kiwis.
The Indian vice-captain was in stellar form against the Aussies in the 50-over matches with scores of 71, 65 and 125 in the final three matches.
The opening batsman remains one of the best around in the limited-overs format and his numbers back up that fact.
Since 2016, Sharma has scored 1, 466 runs in 25 matches at a staggering average of 66.63 along with a healthy strike rate of 95.38.
In this period, he has also hit six tons along with seven half-centuries and a highest score of 171.
If Sharma gets going on Sunday, it could be a long day at work for the Kiwi bowlers.
The left-arm medium pacer is the indisputable leader of the New Zealand pace attack. Now 28-years-old, Boult’s prodigious movement with the ball might be negated in the white-ball format but he still remains a lethal bowler in the conditions.
With a variety of variations now in his kitty, Boult might be tough to get away for India’s batsmen.
The pacer was a constant menace to India’s batsmen in the limited-overs series in 2016 where he picked up 16 wickets in the seven matches.
The early warning signs are already on display for the hosts after Boult captured 5-38 in New Zealand’s first warm-up match against the Board President’s XI.
The 25-year-old left-handed batsman made quite an impression against India in the ODI series last time out where he scored 244 runs opening the batting in the five matches.
He will instead bat in the middle-order for the Kiwis in this series with the additional responsibility of keeping the wicket following Luke Ronchi’s retirement.
His unbeaten 79 against India in Dharamshala in the first ODI in 2016 remains the only time a Kiwi batsman has carried the bat in the one-day game.
Latham showed that he is in supreme touch coming into this series after scoring a century in the second-warm up match against the Board President’s XI. His contribution from the middle-order will be vital for the Black Caps who have struggled to build a stable batting line-up in recent times.
On Saturday, team India’s net session at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai had one particular bowler grabbing all the eyeballs.
Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun Tendulkar could be seen bowling his pacers to Virat Kohli and co. The 18-year-old is part of the Mumbai U-19 squad and had been invited, among others in his squad, to make up the bowling numbers in India’s net session.
Unlike his famous father, Arjun is a southpaw and a medium pacer though their passion for the game remains similar.
Cricket has had a long history of fathers and sons representing their respective countries in the game and Arjun Tendulkar could become the latest to enter the club should he one day wear the blue of India.
We take a look at some other father-sons duo who have represented their countries in cricket.
Shaun Pollock remains one of the greatest all-rounders to have emerged from South Africa. With 421 wickets in Tests and another 393 in ODIs, the former South Africa skipper has impeccable credentials in all formats.
Though his swing and seam bowling remained his greatest weapons, Pollock was an able batsman as well with over 3,500 runs in both Tests and ODIs.
The Port Elizabeth-born man comes from a family entrenched in the sport. His father Peter represented the Proteas himself and was awarded the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1966. Just like his son, Pollock senior was primarily a fast bowler but also a useful lower-order batsman.
Peter’s brother Graeme was also part of the South African set-up and is regarded as one of the finest left-handed batsmen to have played the game.
Sunil Gavaskar’s name remains synonymous with India cricket and he is widely considered as one the greatest opening batsmen in the history of cricket. His record of 34 Test centuries stood for almost two decades before it was broken by compatriot Sachin Tendulkar.
The first Test batsman to breach the 10,000-run mark, Gavaskar remains an indisputable icon of the game.
His son Rohan too took up cricket professionally and was a handy middle-order batsman who could bowl the occasional slow left-arm spin.
Unlike his illustrious father, Rohan did not have a successful tenure with the national team despite a decent track record in first-class cricket.
He made his India debut against Australia in 2004 but failed to create a lasting impression, playing only 11 ODIs in total.
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, or Tiger Pataudi as he is fondly known, is widely regarded as one India’s most revered Test captains. A Wisden Cricketer of the Year winner in 1968, Tiger Pataudi went on to play 46 Tests for India.
The right-handed batsman was thrust upon the India captaincy at the tender age of 21, making him the youngest ever to captain India and second-youngest overall after Zimbabwe’s Tatenda Taibu broke his record.
His father, Iftikhar Ali Pataudi, was himself the captain of the Indian Test team during its tour of England in 1946.
Senior Pataudi had the unique distinction of representing both India and England in the Test arena having played three Tests each for both countries.
Having played 55 Test for India, Vijay Manjrekar was a fine batsman scoring seven centuries in the process. At one point, he held the record for the most runs scored (3,208) without hitting a single six before it was eventually broken by England’s Jonathan Trott.
His son Sanjay would go on to represent India himself, playing 37 Test matches and 74 ODIs as a middle-order batsman who could occasionally keep wicket just like his father.
David Bairstow was a former player for England and a crowd favourite for his county side Yorkshire. He played just four Tests for the Three Lions but had a more robust limited-overs career playing 27 ODIs.
A middle-order batsman who kept behind the stumps, Bairstow played 459 first-class matches in his career. His son, Jonny Bairstow, has continued in the path of his father, turning out for both Yorkshire and England.
The similarities don’t just end there with Jonny now England’s chief wicket-keeper. An established member of the England Test side, Bairstow junior is also a key man in short-form cricket.
Michael Stewart is a former English cricketer who played eight Tests overall for his country. However, he had a much more successful first-class career, spanning 18 years, where he scored over 26,000 runs and made 49 centuries.
His son, Alec, went on to captain his country and play a record 133 Tests as well as 170 ODIs. With more than 8,000 Test runs to his credit, Stewart remains one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen to have emerged from England.
Geoff Marsh was a former Australia player, coach and selector who went on to play 50 Tests and 117 ODIs for his country. An opening batsman, Marsh was also the coach of the Australian team which won the ICC World Cup in 1999.
Geoff Marsh remains only the third player in history to have had both his sons represent their country in Test cricket. Geoff’s sons – Shaun and Mitch, have both donned the Australian jersey and continue to do so. Shaun has played 23 Tests while the younger sibling Mitch has played 21.
Mitch Marsh was also a part of the Australian ODI team which won the ICC World Cup 2015 on home soil.
Currently serving as an ICC match official, Chris Broad is a former England opening batsman who played 26 Tests and 34 ODIs for his country. He is most famous for hitting three back-to-back tons in the 1986-87 Ashes.
His son, Stuart, has continued in the traditions of his father by representing Nottinghamshire in first-class cricket along with obviously establishing himself as a mainstay in England’s Test set-up.
Broad junior’s achievements are well-documented and he is closing in on 400 Test scalps, having played 109 matches for his country.