Pak vs SL: Sri Lanka says India not behind players who refused Pakistan tour


COLOMBO: Sri Lanka tour to Pakistan has been embroiled in controversies since day one and now the decision of top Lankan players to opt out of it has given it a new twist.Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday accused India of trying to jeopardise the tour by influencing Sri Lankan players. “Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ll be ousted from IPL if they don’t refuse Pak visit,” he said.

Reacting to the statement, Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando said that there’s no truth in these reports and India has nothing to do with the matter. The decision was made by the players themselves on the security fears, he said.

“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. 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 tweeted.

Ten Sri Lankan players, including T20 skipper Lasith Malinga and former captains Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, pulled out of upcoming tour of Pakistan citing security concerns.

The Sri Lanka Cricket board said in a statement that players in a preliminary squad were briefed on security arrangements for the six-match limited-over series, and given the freedom to decide if they wanted to travel.

Following the briefing, ten players “chose to stay away” from the series of three One-Day Internationals and three T20 games, scheduled to begin on September 27 in Karachi, it said.

The other seven who opted out were Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne.

The tour was seen as another step towards reviving international cricket in Pakistan after years of isolation.

Meanwhile, The Pakistan Cricket Board says the refusal of 10 senior Sri Lankan players to tour Pakistan “should not make a difference”, and that the Pakistan-Sri Lanka series will be held according to schedule.