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SL vs IND: "Second-string Indian team coming here is an insult on our cricket" - Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga

Arjuna Ranatunga led Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996.
Arjuna Ranatunga led Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996.
ANALYST

Arjuna Ranatunga is not one to hide his shock over Sri Lanka having to face a second-string Indian side in the upcoming series, with the latter's main squad currently in England for a five-match Test series. The former Lankan skipper feels India sending a weakened team is an insult to Sri Lankan cricket and has blamed the island nation’s cricket board for the situation.

With India's top cricketers currently preparing for the Test series against England, Shikhar Dhawan will lead the team for the limited-overs series in Sri Lanka. As many as six uncapped players have been named in the Indian squad for the three T20Is and three ODIs, starting July 13.

Arjuna Ranatunga blamed the current Sri Lanka Cricket administration for going ahead with the series due to "television marketing needs". While speaking to some reporters at his residence, the former Sri Lanka captain said:

"This is a second-string Indian team and their coming here is an insult on our cricket. I blame the current administration for agreeing to play with them due to television marketing needs. India sent their best team to England and sent a weaker side to play here. I blame our board for that."

The Sri Lankan team are currently in England, where they were whitewashed in the three-match T20I series and are trailing 2-0 in the ongoing three-match ODI series. The final ODI will be played on July 4 before the Lankan players head home to lock horns with India, with the first ODI scheduled for July 13.


Crisis over contracts

Lasith Embuldeniya is one of the players who refused to sign the tour based contract.
Lasith Embuldeniya is one of the players who refused to sign the tour based contract.

The Sri Lankan players are currently in an impasse with the cricket board over annual contracts. Sri Lanka Cricket came up with a new model that rewards players based on their fitness standards and on-field performances

However, the current crop of Sri Lankan players is not keen on accepting the new deal. As a result, they have been playing on temporary tour-based contracts. The Sri Lanka team signed such tour-based contracts before heading to England.

But five Sri Lankan players who were not part of the England tour have even refused to sign the tour-based contracts, which puts them out of contention for selection for the India series.

Vishwa Fernando, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lahiru Kumara, Ashen Bandara and Kasun Rajitha are the five players who have refused to sign tour contracts. They will not be joining the residential camps for the India series.


Edited by Samya Majumdar
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