Former Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga slammed Sri Lanka Cricket for agreeing to a tour by a “second-level” India side. He said this tour undermined the country’s “dignity”.
The Indian team led by Shikhar Dhawan arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday. Three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 games will be there. The tseries starts on July 13. Top stars like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant will be absent. They are preparing for a Test series in England next month.
Ranatunga disappointed with the Sri Lankan board
“The Indian squad that came to Sri Lanka is not their best, it is a second-level team. Didn’t our sports minister or cricket administrators know this? Sri Lanka may have gone down (in the rankings), but as a cricketing nation we have an identity, we have dignity, we should not be sending our best to play an Indian B team,” Ranatunga said.
He said the lack of discipline showed by some Sri Lankan players was also due to poor management. Vice-captain Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella were withdrawn from the current England tour. They had violated the Covid-19 bio-secure bubble.
Sri Lankan Board members only look for financial gains
Ranatunga said the game’s administration had deteriorated and called for a major clean-up to improve playing standards and skills. According to him authorities had not considered the humiliation Sri Lankan players would suffer. The Sri Lankan cricket leaders considered only the financial gains.
“The secret behind agreeing to an Indian B team is TV rights. The board wants to make money from this tournament even if it means pitching our players against a B team,” Ranatunga said.
India’s squad: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya