Harin Fernando, Sri Lanka Sports Minister, has denied reports that India have played a part in some Sri Lankan players’ decision to not travel to Pakistan for the upcoming limited-overs tour. As many as ten Sri Lankan players have decided against travelling to Pakistan due to security reasons.
The ten players are T20I skipper Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella. Sri Lanka will play three T20Is and as many ODIs against Pakistan. However, it is now very much likely that the Islanders will have a depleted squad for the tour.
The latest turn of event is another big blow to Pakistan’s hopes of resuming international cricket on their soil. Disappointed with the Sri Lankan players’ decision, Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry had then bizarrely blamed India for the same. The political tension between the two nations are at an all-time high right now and Chaudhry used the opportunity to take another shot at India.
The outspoken minister that India have threatened Sri Lankan players. The minister said that India asked the Sri Lankan players not to travel to Pakistan or else risk an IPL deal.
“Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ll be ousted from IPL if they don’t refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities,” wrote Fawad Chaudhry.
Well, Sri Lanka’s sports minister has not rubbished the claims. Fernando said that India didn’t have any role in the players’ pull out as he confirmed that the players themselves took the decision.
“No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan. Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident,” said Fernando.
Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel. We have a full strength team & we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan,” he added.