Sri Lanka minister Harin Fernando has issued a clarification after Pakistan blamed India for Sri Lanka players’ decision to opt out of the country’s tour of Pakistan.
Fernando, who is Sri Lanka’s sports minister, tweeted that there is “no truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan”.
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
Ten Sri Lankan players, including captain Dimuth Karunaratne and veterans Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews, have opted out of the upcoming tour of Pakistan over security concerns, the country’s cricket board (SLC) said.
Pakistan, as Reuters pointed out, are looking to host their first test on home soil since a 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore. The attack had left six security personnel and two civilians dead while six players were injured.
Pakistan Science and Technology Minister, Fawad Hussain, on Tuesday said “informed sports commentators” had told him that India threatened to oust Sri Lanka players if they didn’t refuse to take part in the Pakistan tour.
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
Sri Lanka is due to play three one-day internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 matches to be held between September 27 and October 9 in Pakistan.
(With Reuters inputs)
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.