Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has come up with a bizarre reason to explain why a number of Sri Lankan players have pulled out of the upcoming series against Pakistan. The Islanders are scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is in Pakistan with the series starting on September 27.
However, the series has already lost some considerable firepower after ten Sri Lankan players pulled out due to security reasons. The players who have pulled out are T20 skipper Lasith Malinga, former captains Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella.
Shahid Afridi has now bizarrely said that the players have pulled out in order to avoid sabotaging their IPL contracts. Pakistan journalist Saj Sadiq tweeted Shahid Afridi’s response in which he said,
“Sri Lankan players are under pressure from IPL franchises. I spoke to SL players last time when there was talk of them coming to Pakistan & playing in PSL. They said they wanted to come, but IPL guys say if you go to Pakistan we won’t give you a contract” #PAKvSL”.
Shahid Afridi "Sri Lankan players are under pressure from IPL franchises. I spoke to SL players last time when there was talk of them coming to Pakistan & playing in PSL. They said they wanted to come, but IPL guys say if you go to Pakistan we won't give you a contract" #PAKvSL
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) September 19, 2019
Pakistan are desperately trying to resume international cricket at home on a regular basis since the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009. Pakistan could not host an international match for six years after that attack and was compelled to shift base to UAE. They have hosted teams such as Zimbabwe and West Indies in recent years but only for limited-overs matches.
Meanwhile, with regular skippers pulling out of the tour, Sri Lanka have already named Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka as ODI and T20I captains for the tour.