Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has said that the arrival of the Shikhar Dhawan-led Indian cricket team in his country is an “insult” to Sri Lankan cricket.
The 1996 World Cup-winning skipper also hit out at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for agreeing to host the upcoming white-ball series against a “second-string Indian team.”
India are scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is against the hosts starting July 13 with all the matches to be hosted under lights at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
"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, also a former government minister, told reporters at his residence.
India’s first-choice squad of 20 players, plus four standbys, led by regular skipper Virat Kohli is on duty in England at the moment, where they played the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton last month. They are on a break currently and will reassemble on July 14 in Durham to begin preparations for a five-Test series against England starting August 4 in Nottingham.
Ranatunga said that SLC was to blame for the situation. "India sent their best team to England and sent a weaker side to play here. I blame our board for that.”
The Indian team arrived in Sri Lanka on June 28 and was in quarantine for three days. The players had their first training session on Friday (July 2).
India squad for Sri Lanka tour: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-capt), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya
Net Bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh
Featured photo: AFP / Ishara S. Kodikara