The international cricket fraternity was in for a shock this week after as many as 10 Sri Lankan cricketers refused to travel to Pakistan for two limited-overs series starting later this month. The players, including the country’s T20I captain Lasith Malinga and ODI skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, cited security concerns as the reason for their reluctance.
Pakistan’s reputation as a cricket host received a terrible blow a decade back when a visiting national cricket team faced terrorist attack and had to be evacuated from the stadium in London. And the visitors were none other than the Sri Lanka team.
Two out of the 10 players who have refused to go to Pakistan sought the board’s permission to play in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which kicked off on September 4. The duo is all-rounder Thisara Perera and wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella. However, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has refused to grant them the no-objection certificate (NOC) to play in the CPL after they refused to take the national responsibility.
SLC CEO speaks out on the matter
SLC Chief Executive Officer Ashley de Silva said it is as per the board’s policy that a player will not be given the NOC if he chooses to withdraw from a national tour even after getting picked. The Sri Lankan board also expressed displeasure over the fact that the players decided to withdraw even after security arrangements were made to ensure that the tour goes off safely.
“It’s our policy not to give NOCs when there is a national tour, and the players would have known that. So Dickwella has not been granted a NOC and will be expected to train with the national team in the next few weeks. We have also asked Thisara to return to the country on September 15, so he can also join the team in training,” de Silva was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
Both Perera and Dickwella are part of the St Lucia Zouks in the CPL 2019. While Perera’s conditional NOC has been revoked and he has to return to Sri Lanka, Dickwella was never issued a NOC as he had been with the T20 squad for the recent series against New Zealand.
Bowler Isuru Udana had also been picked for a CPL side but he made himself unavailable and will travel to Pakistan. Sri Lanka will play Pakistan in three ODIs and as many T20Is between September 27 and October 9.
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