Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has replied to Arjun Ranatunga’s statement blasting the island country’s cricket body, as Team India’s second-string team has already arrived in Sri Lanka for the forthcoming limited-overs series. Arjuna Ranatunga, the World Cup-winning captain of Sri Lanka, recently criticized the Sri Lanka Cricket Board for agreeing to host a second-string Indian squad in a white-ball series later this month, calling it an insult. The Sri Lanka Cricket Board has now issued a statement describing the Indian squad as a strong group.
The Indian squad, captained by Shikhar Dhawan, landed in Sri Lanka on Monday to prepare for the three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches, which begin on July 13. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rishabh Pant were among the notable absentees. Everyone is gearing up for a Test series in England later this month.
Ranatunga on the Indian Squad
“The Indian squad that came to Sri Lanka is not their best, it is a second-level team,” Ranatunga said.
“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”, he added.
He said that the officials had not taken into account the humiliation that Sri Lankan players would face. Cricket leaders, according to Ranatunga, were solely concerned about financial gain.
“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 concluded.
“National White-Ball team of India currently touring Sri Lanka is a strong squad. Out of the 20-member India squad, 14 players have represented India across all formats or in some form. Therefore, they are not a second-string team as claimed.” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) stated in an official press release.
“It also should be mentioned that this tour is taking place, whilst the National Test Team of India is touring England to play a 5 match test series, vs England. This is the latest norm in the cricketing world, especially the full ICC Member countries, as they maintain specialist squads and players for each format of the game. The aim of such arrangements is to be competitive in each format of the game by maintaining specialist players and squads. Apart from it, maintaining separate squads enable cricketing boards to fulfill their international commitments unhindered, such as the ICC Future Tours Program,” added Sri Lanka Cricket.