Nine Sri Lankan players that were set to travel to India for the upcoming ODI series were reportedly turned around in the last minute by Sri Lanka Cricket officials. According to reports in local Sri Lankan media, the country’s sports minister had not approved of the squad. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara had apparently said that it was impossible for him to approve a team at such short notice and that there will be a meeting in the afternoon to sort the matter.
Unlike India, where the BCCI has absolute power over Indian team selection and the Indian Sports Ministry has no say in the matter, a 1973 law gives the Sri Lankan sports minister power to change teams before they compete, effectively making that office’s the final word in team selection. It is reported that Jayasekara was incensed by the fact that the players were allowed to leave without him having cleared the final team. As per reports, the players stopped from leaving were led by newly appointed captain Thisara Perrera, Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Asela Gunaratne, Chathuranga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep.
The rest of the team is playing in India in the three-match Test series. They are trailing the the series 1-0 and are playing the third Test in Delhi. Sri Lankan players have been facing problems in India’s national capital due to pollution. Play had been stopped for a significant part of Day 2 with Sri Lankan pacers unable to continue playing.