Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has ruffled feathers with his ‘second string’ remark, where he stated that BCCI have sent a second string Indian side to Sri Lanka. The World Cup winning captain made the statement after BCCI sent a different team under coach Rahul Dravid and captain Shikhar Dhawan. A separate team under Virat Kohli is already in England and Covid restrictions made sure that they won’t be able to travel to Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, countering Ranatunga, former India spinner Venkatpathy Raju has said that a ‘responsible cricketer’ like Ranatunga shouldn’t have made such a statement. In an exclusive to Hindustan Times, he said: “I’m not a firm believer of this word ‘second-string’. They are all aspiring cricketers; you can’t really call them second-string. That’s were Ranatunga went wrong. He should not have said second-string. That was an unwanted comment from such a great cricketer.”
“He should have been happy that a team is coming and touring Sri Lanka during these tough times. Sri Lanka are also trying to form a team, try youngsters for the T20 World Cup. So, I was a little surprised that such a senior and great cricketer would refer this Indian side as a second-string. People are waiting for cricket to happen,” Raju said.
This is what Ranatunga said: “This is a second-string Indian team and their coming here is an insult to our cricket. I blame the current administration for agreeing to play with them due to television marketing needs. “India sent their best team to England and sent a weaker side to play here. I blame our board for that."