Ranatunga says 'second string Indian team' touring Sri Lanka; SLC rejects assertion

The fact that India will be sending a weaker side to Sri Lanka is an insult to Sri Lankan cricket, says the former captain.

Arjuna Ranatunga..."This is a second-string Indian team and their coming here is an insult on our cricket." - PTI (FILE)

Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning former captain Arjuna Ranatunga has slammed the country's cricket board for agreeing to host a "second string Indian team" in a white-ball series later this month, saying that it is nothing short of an "insult".

India and Sri Lanka are due to compete in three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals beginning July 13.

With India's major stars like skipper Virat Kohli and his limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma in England for an upcoming Test series, the team here is being led by opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan and features half a dozen uncapped players.

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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, 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.

Sri Lanka Cricket responded by saying that the touring squad is a seasoned one.

"Out of the 20-member India squad, 14 players have represented India across all formats or in some form and not a second string team as claimed," the SLC stated.

The visiting team has just completed its compulsory quarantine and would play the home team in the first ODI on July 13. India's National Cricket Academy chief and celebrated former captain Rahul Dravid is the head coach for the tour.

"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 SLC said.

Ranatunga also spoke about the current poor run of the Lankan team in the international arena.

Sri Lanka lost its fifth T20 series in a row when it went down 3-0 to England last month. It was also forced to send back three senior players from the ongoing tour of England for breaching bio-bubble protocol.

Ranatunga said the lack of discipline was also the fault of the administration and that when he was at the helm, he did not allow any misconduct.

He demanded the overhaul of the local administration and advocated the appointment of an interim committee to manage SLC. It was only in mid-May that the current SLC administration was elected.

Ranatunga was the head of an interim committee politically appointed in 2007-08.

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