The Sri Lanka cricket board has announced its squads for its upcoming One-Day International (ODI) and T20i series against Pakistan.
According to a press statement released on Wednesday, Sri Lanka Cricket said approval for the squads was given by “the Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Honorable Harin Fernando to take part in the forthcoming Sri Lanka tour of Pakistan”.
Lahiru Thirimanne (Captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka, Angelo Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, and Lahiru Kumara comprise the 15-member ODI squad.
While the 16-member T20 squad consists of Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Angelo Perera, Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, and Lahiru Kumara.
Sri Lankan Sports Minister Harin Fernando has rejected claims made by Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry claiming India had threatened the Lankan players to pull out of their tour to Pakistan later this month.
“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 and we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan,” Fernando said in a tweet.
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
— Harin Fernando (@fernandoharin) September 10, 2019
Fernando’s tweets responded to Chaudhry’s claims where claimed India threatened Sri Lanka players over not being able to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) if they travelled to Pakistan.
“Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they’ll be ousted from IPL if they don’t refuse Pakistan visit,” the minister said in a tweet.
He added, “this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities.”
Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ll be ousted from IPL if they don’t refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) September 10, 2019
Chaudhry’s tweet comes a day after, 10 Sri Lankan players, including T20 skipper Lasith Malinga and former captains Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, pulled out of the upcoming tour of Pakistan citing security concerns.
The Sri Lanka Cricket board said players in a preliminary squad were briefed on security arrangements for the six-match limited over series starting September 27 and given the freedom to decide if they wanted to travel.
Subsequently, ten players “chose to stay away” from the series of three one-day Internationals (ODIs) and three T20 games.
Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal, and Dimuth Karunaratne were the other seven players who opted to not visit Pakistan.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), however, said the Pakistan-Sri Lanka series would be held according to schedule, and that “it should not make a difference if senior [Sri Lankan] players come or not.” It said that the cricketers opting out of the series was an internal matter for the SLC, which would choose the players for the series.
The Pakistan-Sri Lanka series starts September 27 and is scheduled to conclude on October 9, 2019.