The Pakistan U19 squad’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka has been called off following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in the island country that left over 250 people dead.
Three churches and four hotels were targeted in the spate of suicide bombings with Sri Lanka’s authorities sounding a warning for more potential attacks in the near future.
According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to call off the visit of the Pakistan team in light of the developing situation.
Pakistan’s U19 squad was due to arrive in Sri Lanka on April 30 where they were slated to play two four-day matches along with three one-day clashes against the hosts.
“The tour has been postponed indefinitely,” a SLC official was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“It was a decision taken by SLC, as we didn’t want to take any chances,” the official added.
The two boards are said to be monitoring the situation closely and the tour could be potentially rescheduled for a later date.
With the Sri Lankan series called off for now, Pakistan’s U19 squad will now focus on their tour of South Africa which is scheduled to begin on June 19. The team had managed to reach the semi-final of the 2018 U19 World Cup in New Zealand where they faced a loss against eventual champions India.
The veteran had been roped in by Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement for the injured Nathan Coulter-Nile and played two matches for the franchise before experiencing a flare-up of his old shoulder injury.
Steyn is now set to see a specialist in South Africa to assess the extent of the injury and faces an anxious wait just one month ahead of the start of the 2019 World Cup in England.
“Upon assessment and subsequent investigations, a flare-up of his right shoulder was confirmed,” Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosajee stated.
“With the World Cup around the corner, it is our priority to get him back to full fitness before the squad departs on May 19.
“He will consult with a shoulder specialist upon his return and a recovery plan will be put in place.”
The 35-year-old was only last week named in the 15-man South Africa World Cup squad after battling a spate of injuries over the past two years or so.
He had been out of the Proteas ODI squad for more than two years after fracturing his shoulder in a tour of Australia.
In the two IPL games that Steyn played for RCB, he picked up four wickets while going at an economy-rate of 8.62.
The 37-year-old will now longer take part in the Big Bash League (BBL) where he is the all-time leading run-scorer for Sydney Thunder.
While he will no longer play professional cricket in Australia, Watson will continue to ply his trade in overseas franchise T20 leagues such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pakistan Super League (PSL).
“Shane Watson was one of the most exciting short-form players ever to grace a cricket field,” Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts stated.
“In a career which spanned almost two decades, Shane made a major contribution to Australian cricket firstly at international level and then in domestic cricket as a significant contributor to the Big Bash.
“His greatest quality was persistence, overcoming a number of sometimes serious injuries and curtailing his pace. He became a probing swing and seam bowler.”
Watson had earlier retired from international cricket in 2016 after playing 59 Tests, 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is for Australia. In the BBL, the right-hander has scored a total of 1,058 runs from 42 matches while also picking up 20 wickets with the ball.
Watson is currently turning out for Chennai Super Kings in the ongoing 2019 IPL edition and recently scored 96 in his side’s six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.