Shahid Afridi makes bizarre claim, says IPL franchises behind Sri Lankan players opting out of Pakistan tour

Times Now

Times Now

Author 2019-09-20 01:00:16


After Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry made a bizarre statement claiming India was behind Sri Lankan players pulling out of their upcoming tour of Pakistan, Shahid Afridi has also joined the bandwagon. The former Pakistan captain claimed ten Sri Lankan players who pulled out of the Pakistan tour are under pressure from Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises. Sri Lanka are scheduled to travel to Pakistan for a limited-overs series starting from September 27th.

Ten Sri Lankan players including the likes of Sri Lanka's ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne, T20I skipper Lasith Malinga and senior all-rounder Angelo Mathews had opted out of the tour citing security concerns. Major nations have all refrained from travelling to Pakistan ever since the deadly terror attack on Sri Lankan players' team bus in Lahore in March 2009. 12 gunmen open fired on the team bus but the players managed to escape unhurt luckily. Six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were left dead in the attack.

Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Malinga, Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Karunaratne are the ten Sri Lankan players who opted out of the Pakistan tour.

Reacting to the players' decision, Afridi said he had spoken to a few Sri Lankan players before who were ready to play Pakistan Super League (PSL) in the country. He alleged that IPL franchises have told the players they won't be awarded contracts if they agree to travel to Pakistan.

"Sri Lankan players are under pressure from IPL franchises. I spoke to Sri Lankan players last time when there was talk of them coming to Pakistan & playing in PSL. They said they wanted to come, but IPL guys say if you go to Pakistan we won't give you a contract," Afridi said in a video interview.

Afridi further stated that the Sri Lankan board should put pressure on the players to travel to Pakistan. "Pakistan's always supported Sri Lanka, it never happened that we had a tour of Sri Lanka & our players rested. Sri Lanka's board should put pressure on their contracted players to go to Pakistan. Sri Lanka players who'll come will always be remembered in Pakistan's history," he added.

Several former Pakistan players including the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Ramiz Raja have criticised Sri Lankan players' decision to not come to Pakistan. In the absence of some big names, the Sri Lankan board has announced second-string T20I and ODI squads for the tour.

The Sri Lankan board has recieved a green signal from the defence ministry of the country to go ahead with the tour despite fears of players being targets of terror attacks in Pakistan.

"We have the green light from the defence ministry. The tour is on as we planned. I myself and our office bearers will also be accompanying the team," Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Mohan de Silva told AFP on Thursday.


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