Sri Lanka is all set to take part in a One Day International (ODI) series in Pakistan September 27 to October 9. However, it was learnt yesterday that 10 Lankan cricketers pulled their name out as they refused to visit Pakistan, stating security reasons. After the news broke out, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Science and Technology, CH Fawad Hussain accused the Indian sports authorities of blackmailing the said cricketers to pull their names out from the tour.

Taking to his official Twitter account, Hussain said that he learnt the players were threatened that their IPL contracts would be terminated if they visited Pakistan. “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 a really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities,” he wrote on his Twitter timeline.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) took out a press release which had the names of the 10 players who backed out. Senior pacer Lasith Malinga, ODI and Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne and veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews were some of the notable names in the list of 10.

The SLC statement had stated that the met the officials and they were informed about the complete detail of security arrangement made in Pakistan. It also clarified that the players were given full freedom to decide whether or not they wanted to take part in the series.

Ever since international cricket became folklore in Pakistan after a touring Sri Lanka side was subjected to a terrorist attack in Lahore in 2009, Pakistan have come a long way in their desperate effort to bring back cricket.

Though teams like Zimbabwe and Kenya visited the country for low-key international series, it was only in 2017 when a World XI played a three-match ODI series against Pakistan that premier cricket returned. In 2017, Sri Lanka, too, played a Twenty-20 International (T20I) there as a continuation of their tour to UAE, the makeshift home of Pakistan cricket to host international teams.

Pakistan minister accuses India