On Friday, Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga slammed the island’s sports leaders for agreeing to play with India’s B team. Arjun Ranatunga said the tour undermined the country’s “dignity” as he had some hard words for Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka Cricket. The Indian team under the captaincy of Shikhar Dhawan arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday to prepare for the three-match ODI series and three-match T20Is series with the ODIs scheduled to commence on July 13.
The Indian stalwarts Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rishabh Pant will be missing the limited-overs series. All are preparing for the 5-match Test series in England next month.
Arjuna Ranatunga said, “The Indian squad that came to Sri Lanka is not their best, it is a second-level team. 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.”
Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to its 1996 World Cup triumph, said the cricketing administration in the Island nation has been deteriorated and called for a major clean-up to improve playing standards and skills. Former skipper suggests that said authorities had not considered the humiliation Sri Lankan cricketers would suffer.
Elaborating the same, Arunja Ranatunga said, “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.”
He said the lack of discipline showed by some Sri Lankan cricketers was also due to poor management. Sri Lanka’s deputy skipper, -Kusal Mendis, opener Danushka Gunathilaka, and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella were called back from the ongoing England tour after they violated the Covid-19 bio-secure bubble. The trio is expected to be dropped from the India series.