Sports minister stops the Sri Lankan players from leaving for India to play in the ODI series
What's the story?
When the Sri Lankan limited-overs specialists were leaving for India to take part in the ODI and T20I series, Sri Lanka sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekera stopped all the nine cricketers from leaving the country because he was not happy with the team that was picked by the selectors.
"The nine players were on their way to Colombo airport late on Monday for the overnight flight when they were ordered to return," AFP reported quoting one of the team members (on the condition of anonymity).
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While the likes of Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samaraweera, Lahiry Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews etc. are already in the India, the other members of the side that include skipper Thisara Perera, Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Asela Gunaratne, Chathuranga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep were supposed to leave last night.
According to the Sri Lankan constitution, a law, that was amended in 1973, gives the Sri Lankan sports minister the power to change national teams before they compete in a tournament. Sources close to the Lankan sports ministry conceded that Jayasekera may order at least two changes to the squad named by the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board last week.
Sri Lankan squad: Thisara Perera (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Chathuranga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep.
After the ongoing Test series against India, Sri Lanka will take part in a three-match ODI series that will start on December 10 in Dharamsala before the players move to Mohali and Vizag.
Following the ODI series, the teams will play in a three-match T20 series that get underway in Cuttack on December 20.
Irrespective of how strong/weak the team is, it makes no sense for the sports minister to interfere in the selection decisions taken by the national selectors.
Asking for changes in the side will send a bad message to both the players and selectors and the Sri Lankan board should stand by the team that was picked by the selection committee and allow them to leave for India at the earliest.