'This second-string Indian team coming here is an insult to Sri Lanka cricket': Arjuna Ranatunga slams SLC

Updated on Jul 02, 2021 01:15 PM IST

Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga said a ‘second-string’ coming to the island for a limited-overs series is an ‘insult’ to their cricket.

File image of Arjuna Ranatunga(Getty Images)
File image of Arjuna Ranatunga(Getty Images)

Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning captain, slammed the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board for agreeing to host a ‘second-string Indian team’ minus the likes of regular skipper Virat Kohli, vice-captain Rohit Sharma. The former Sri Lanka captain said the ‘second-string’ coming to the island for a limited-overs series is an ‘insult’ to their cricket.

"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," Ranatunga, a government minister until two years ago, told reporters at his residence as reported by news agency PTI.

India, for the first time, decided to prepare two different teams for different formats to play at the same time in different parts of the world. While the Indian Test side led by Virat Kohli is currently in England preparing for the five-match Test series against the hosts, an Indian limited-overs side led by senior batsman Shikhar Dhawan is in Sri Lanka to play three ODIs and as many T20Is.

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Apart from Kohli and Rohit, the other big-ticket Indian cricketers who are not a part of the Sri Lanka tour are Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant – all of them are with the Indian Test side in England.

The Dhawan-led Indian side, however, has limited-overs regulars like Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav along with a few fresh faces like Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Chetan Sakariya.

"India sent their best team to England and sent a weaker side to play here. I blame our board for that," added the legendary batsman, who led Sri Lanka to the 1996 ODI world title.

The visiting team has just completed its compulsory quarantine and would play the home team in the first ODI on July 13.

India's National Cricket Academy chief and celebrated former captain Rahul Dravid is the head coach for the tour as regular head coach Ravi Shastri is in England with the Test side.

Ranatunga also spoke about the current poor run of the Lankan team in the international arena.

Sri Lanka lost their fifth T20 series in a row when they went down 3-0 to England last month.

They were also forced to send back three senior players from the ongoing tour of England for breaching bio-bubble protocol.

Ranatunga said the lack of discipline was also the fault of the administration and when he was at the helm, he did not allow any misconduct.

He demanded the overhauling of the local administration and advocated the appointment of an interim committee to manage Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Ranatunga was the head of an interim committee politically appointed in 2007-08.

(With PTI inputs)

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