No India influence on senior players to boycott Pakistan tour : SLC

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has claimed that India threatened Sri Lanka players, over not being able to participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL), if they toured Pakistan, but no such fear was raised by any of the Sri Lankan players, according to Ashantha De Mel, the chief selector, who attended the players’ meeting with the SLC officials on Monday, said.

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“There was no such discussion and no player had raised “this” (IPL pull out) concern”, speaking exclusively, he said.

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“From Sri Lanka, only Lasith Malinga is playing the IPL and he decided to skip the Pak tour for fear factor. No other reason was raised by him”.

Even the sports minister, Harin Fernando has brushed aside this claim.

“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”, he twitted.

Former Pakistan batsman Basit Ali too has rubbished his minister’s claim but suggested that the senior Sri Lankan players may have agreed had they been promised more money.

“In the past, West Indies players were paid more (by the PCB) to play in Pakistan”, he added.

It was also speculated in media that the Zimbabwe players too were paid more for the same purpose.

“Pakistan should now field only the B graded team against Sri Lanka’s B graded team if they can’t cancel hosting the series”.

In a lighter vein, Basit Ali also congratulated (in advance) the new (head) coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis “for Pakistan winning the series against Sri Lanka’s B graded team”.

-Bipin Dani

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