Former India batsman Aakash Chopra brought up Sri Lankan cricket’s own state while reacting to Arjuna Ranatunga’s comments about BCCI sending a second-string team to Sri Lanka for limited-overs matches.
Since most of the first-choice players are in England, it wasn’t possible for the board to pick those players for the Sri Lanka tour due to logistical issues. Hence a squad of second-choice players, captained by Shikhar Dhawan, will take on the hosts in 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. This hasn’t gone down well with the 1996 World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, who said that this was an insult to the Sri Lankan team.
Aakash Chopra now has acknowledged that this is not India’s strongest side. However, he points out the Shikhar Dhawan led outfit will still have more experience under their belt than whatever side the Lankans will put up, considering they have dropped their senior players and picked youngsters for the England tour in order to imbue spark in the team.
“It is absolutely right that it is not the main team, the likes of Bumrah, Shami, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja are not there. But is it really like a B-grade team?” Aakash Chopra said in his YouTube video.
“India’s probable ODI XI has played 471 ODIs in total, of course, this is not the first team. When Sri Lanka picks the team, it will be interesting to see how many matches in all they have played. When you try to match experience to experience, it will be a very exciting exercise.”
Sri Lanka will have to look inwards as well: Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra also underlined the dismal state of cricket of Sri Lanka over the past few years; recently, they lost the ODI series 2-1 to Bangladesh and were whitewashed 3-0 against England and have also lost the ODI series.
The commentator says that Sri Lanka should “look inwards” first as they are now competing in World Cup qualifiers – Afghanistan has made their place secure in the Super 12 of the T20 World Cup, but Sri Lanka will have to play the qualifiers first, and qualify to go to the main tournament.
“Sri Lanka will have to look inwards as well. Let’s be honest, Afghanistan doesn’t have to play the World T20 qualifiers, you have to. This is a reality. The truth is that Sri Lankan cricket is really struggling at this moment, even if you look at the England numbers now.
“There is a possibility they may not qualify for the T20 World Cup, that they do not come in the main draw at all. You may not be there in the Super 12. That is also a reality and Afghanistan is already there,” he maintained.