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‘India did not influence our players to boycott Pakistan tour’: Sri Lanka rubbishes Pakistani Minister’s claim

Sri Lankan Sports Minister Harin Fernando on September 10 (Tuesday) said that the ten Sri Lankan players who opted out of the tour were "purely" based on the 2009 incident when their team bus was attacked by terrorist which left eight people dead and several others injured.

Sri Lanka has rejected Pakistani Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry’s claims that India threatened the players of island nation against participating in an upcoming cricket series in Pakistan.

Sri Lankan Sports Minister Harin Fernando on September 10 (Tuesday) said that the ten Sri Lankan players who opted out of the tour were “purely” based on the 2009 incident when their team bus was attacked by terrorists which had left eight people dead and several others injured.

“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,” Fernando tweeted on Tuesday night.

In fact, Sri Lanka never toured Pakistan following the attack. This is set to be their first after the attacks on the team bus on 3 March 2009.

However, Fernando’s statement came in response to Pakistan’s low IQ Science and Technology Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry’s claim, who fell for a prank yet again. He had said that India threatened Sri Lankan players of being ousted from the Indian Premier League (IPL) if they visit Pakistan.

On September 9 (Monday), Sri Lanka’s top 10 players, including T20I skipper Lasith Malinga, and former captains Angelo Mathews besides Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella, had opted out of the tour starting September 27 to Pakistan, following a security briefing with the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board.

Sri Lanka is slated to play three ODIs in Karachi on September 27, 29 and October 3, and as many T20Is in Lahore on October 5, 7 and 9 during the tour.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLC) has announced the second set of players that would head for the upcoming tour of Pakistan after 10 players pulled out. While batsman Lahiru Thirimanne will lead the side in the ODIs, Dasun Shanka will be at the helm of affairs for the T20Is.

It’s believed that the families of several Sri Lankan players were reportedly uncomfortable with the prospect of the stars playing in Pakistan. However, the Pakistan Cricket Board has said that Pakistan would accept whatever team the Sri Lankan board sends.

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