SLC responds to Ranatunga’s jibe: Indian team in Sri Lanka a strong squad

MUMBAI: Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Friday reacted strongly to Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga‘s remarks slamming it for agreeing to host a “second-string Indian team” in a white-ball series later this month.
Ranatunga had called it an “insult to Sri Lankan cricket.” In a statement, SLC that the Indian white-ball squad led by Shikhar Dhawan is a “strong squad, including 14 players who’ve represented India across all formats.”
In a statement on Ranatunga’s remarks, SLC said: “SLC wishes to announce that despite claims by various parties as reported in the media, the national white-ball team of India currently touring Sri Lanka is a strong squad. Out of the 20-member India squad, 14 players have represented India across all formats or in some form. (Test, ODI, or T20i), and not a ‘second string team,’ as claimed.”
“It also should be mentioned that this tour is taking place, whilst the National Test Team of India is touring England to play a five-match Test series against England. This is the latest norm in the cricketing world, especially the full ICC member countries, as they maintain specialist squads and players for each format of the game. The aim of such arrangements is to be competitive in each format of the game by maintaining specialist players and squads,” said SLC. “Apart from it, maintaining separate squads enable cricketing boards to fulfil their international commitments unhindered, such as the ICC Future Tours Program,” concluded the statement.
“This is a second-string Indian team and their coming here is an insult to our cricket. I blame the current administration for agreeing to play with them due to television marketing needs,” Ranatunga, a government minister until two years ago, told reporters at his residence.
“India sent their best team to England and sent a weaker side to play here. I blame our board for that,” added the legendary batsman, who led Sri Lanka to the 1996 ODI world title.
India are in Sri Lanka for a limited-overs bilateral series against the hosts starting from July 13. The tour includes three ODIs and as many T20Is. While Dhawan is the India captain for this tour, pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has been named his deputy. Batting great and National Cricket Academy (NCA) chief Rahul Dravid is India’s head coach for this series.

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