'Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they'll be ousted from IPL if they don't refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities.'
Pakistan Science and Technology Minister Fawad Hussain on Tuesday claimed that Sri Lankan cricket players opted out from the upcoming tour of Pakistan after India threatened them that they will be ousted from the Indian Premier League if they failed to do so.
Hussain, infamous for making ridiculous statements, said in a tweet, "Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they'll be ousted from IPL if they don't refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities."
His remarks come after 10 Sri Lankan cricket players on Monday chose to opt out of the upcoming tour to Pakistan citing security concerns.
Sri Lanka is set to visit Pakistan after nearly two years to play three ODIs and three T20I matches from September 27 to October 19. The players who opted out of the series are -- Lasith Malinga, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne.
The Sri Lankan cricket board conducted a meeting with the players to inform them about the security arrangements and were given the freedom to decide on their participation in the tour. However, the 10 Sri Lankan players "chose to stay away" from the series in Pakistan.
The development marks several earlier instances when major international cricket teams have refused to tour Pakistan since the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.
The Sri Lankan team were on their way to Gaddafi Stadium during the Test match with Pakistan when terrorists believed to be from Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) fired indiscriminately upon the bus. That barbaric attack left eight people dead and injured seven Sri Lankan players and staff.
Since then, international cricket has eluded Pakistan with no high-profile team visiting the country for a full-length tour. However, Sri Lanka returned to Pakistan in October 2017 for a lone T20 match in Lahore, the place where the attack took place eight years ago.
Though, the security situation in Pakistan is far from being completely normal even after the 2009 attack.