India and Sri Lanka are due to compete in three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals beginning July 13 but due to the absence of big stars like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rohit Sharma, the team will be led by Shikhar Dhawan. With the side having half a dozen uncapped players, Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning former captain Arjuna Ranatunga slammed the country's cricket board for agreeing to host a "second-string Indian team" in a white-ball series later this month, saying that it is nothing short of an "insult".
"This is a second-string Indian team and their coming here is an insult on our cricket. I blame the current administration for agreeing to play with them due to television marketing needs," Ranatunga, a government minister until two years ago, told reporters at his residence.
"India sent their best team to England and sent a weaker side to play here. I blame our board for that," added the legendary batsman, who led Sri Lanka to the 1996 ODI world title.
Sri Lanka Cricket responded by saying that the touring squad is a seasoned one. "Out of the 20-member India squad, 14 players have represented India across all formats or in some form and not a second-string team as claimed," the SLC stated.
The visiting team has just completed its compulsory quarantine and would play the home team in the first ODI on July 13. India's National Cricket Academy chief and celebrated former captain Rahul Dravid is the head coach for the tour.
"This is the latest norm in the cricketing world, especially the full ICC member countries, as they maintain specialist squads and players for each format of the game," the SLC said.
(With inputs from PTI)