Kumar Sangakkara is worried that touring teams will avoid Sri Lanka in the future following the terrorist attacks in Colombo that killed 258 people and included the bombing of the hotel used by the England team last year.
Sangakkara was speaking at Lord’s in his capacity as president-elect of the MCC, a role he takes up next year, and when asked if he was concerned about Sri Lanka becoming a no-go area for touring teams he answered “absolutely.”
England are due to tour Sri Lanka in March next year playing a short two Test series. Sangakkara said: “I was in the bus in 2009 when the Sri Lanka team got attacked and I understand the reservations and the security concerns that come after such an incident or even as an observer looking from the outside in.
“We need an open conversation with the necessary security aspects that are in place, make sure there are independent assessments done, that the boards connect openly and fully. We always talk about cricket transcending politics and that has to be the case with tours, as long as security and safety is assured, and there is an honest commitment from every country to put those security measures in place.
“I understand the reservations but I’m sure from a Sri Lankan perspective that those security protocols will be in place very soon. Confidence in the country and its ability to combat what has happened is evident to everyone. It’s important that tours do go ahead.
“I was very assured to see Gladstone Small in Galle inspecting some of the hotels just a month after the Easter Sunday attacks. These are all good signs. Sri Lanka has been through a lot in the past and has conducted cricket tours, including a World Cup, in very trying circumstances. I’m sure it will happen again.”
Sangakkara is the first non-British president of the MCC and on his watch Lord’s will become one of the eight host venues for the Hundred. There are plans to allow non-members into the Pavilion for Hundred matches and also relax the strict dress code to try and attract a different audience.
“It is very hard to get a tournament perfect in its first year. We have to keep changing and understanding what the public want from us as administrators. Without children taking up this game it will die. The Hundred connects with a completely different audience.”