Sri Lanka Minister Harin Fernando
Sri Lankan Minister Harin Fernando

Pakistan’s claims of Sri Lankan players being influenced by India were lashed out by Sri Lankan minister, Harin Fernando.

After a Pakistani minister claimed that the reason for Sri Lankan players refusing to tour Pakistan was India threatening them, Mr. Fernando said the decision was based only on the happenings in 2009- when their players were attacked in Pakistan, and it had nothing to do with India.

“No truth to reports that India influenced Sri Lankan players not to play in Pakistan.Some decided not to play purely based on 2009 incident. Respecting their decision we picked players who were willing to travel. We have a full strength team & we hope to beat Pakistan in Pakistan,” a tweet from the Sri Lankan minister read.

It was previously reported that ten Sri Lankan players opted out of the Pakistan tour citing security reasons. Responding to it, a Pakistani minister blamed India. He tweeted that India “threatened” the Sri Lankan players, making them to opt out of the Pakistan tour.

“Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they will be ousted from IPL if they don’t refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities,” he had tweeted.

The earlier claim by Pakistan minister might also have something to do with the political unrest between the two nations. India and Pakistan are long known to be rivals, not only on the cricketing front but also politically. Citing security as the reason, India did not play cricket in Pakistan since a tour in 2005-06. In fact, the cricketing nations acknowledged Pakistan as a safe heaven for terrorist in 2009, when the touring Sri Lankan players were subjected to an extremely dangerous attack. Since the attacks, only Zimbabwe toured Pakistan in 2015.

Pakistan’s hopes of bringing cricket back to the nation are now in jeopardy with the Sri Lankan players’s refusal to travel.