Shahid Afridi gestures during a match. FIle
Sri Lanka's top players — T20I skipper Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Suranga Lakmal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella — have opted out of the tour starting on Sept.27.
Afridi, reportedly, has claimed that some Sri Lankan players had earlier told him that they were threatened against touring Pakistan and play in Pakistan Super League (PSL) by IPL franchises.
"Sri Lankan players are under pressure from IPL franchises. I spoke to Sri Lanka players last time when there was talk of them coming to Pakistan and 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," senior Pakistani journalist Saj Sadiq on Twitter quoted Afridi as saying.
Afridi further said that Sri Lanka Cricket should put pressure on its players to travel to Pakistan.
"Pakistan's always supported Sri Lanka, it never happened that we had a tour of Sri Lanka and 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," Afridi added.
Earlier, Pakistan Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry had said India has threatened the players from Sri Lanka against participating in the upcoming series against the Men in Green. He had also claimed that India could have used threats that the Sri Lankan players would lose their IPL contracts if they travelled to Pakistan.
However, his claims were refuted by Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando who said that the 10 players had opted out of the tour "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 are 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, before returning in December for the Test series that will be a part of the World Test Championship.
The ICC on Thursday, however, stated that the upcoming series will be held as planned.
Indo-Asian News Service
On Wednesday, a hashtag #ShameonYuviBhajji was trending with users lashing out at the duo for helping Afridi. At the same time, there was also support for the former Indian all-rounder with #IStandWithYuvi hashtag doing the rounds.
"I'll remain thankful towards Harbhajan & Yuvraj for supporting my foundation. The real problem is that this is their compulsion. They live in that country. 'Wo majboor hain.' They know that people are being oppressed in their country. I won't say anything further," Afridi said on Pakistan channel Hum News.
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