Former Indian spinner Venkatapathy Raju disagrees with Arjuna Ranatunga’s ‘second-string Indian side’ comment. The senior players of the Indian team are currently in England to play a five-match test series. In their absence, the selectors named a young side, led by Shikhar Dhawan for the limited-overs tour against Sri Lanka.
Arjuna Ranatunga slammed the Sri Lanka cricket board for agreeing to play with India’s “second string team”.
“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,” Ranatunga had said.
Venkatapathy Raju in an exclusive chat with the Hindustan Times said that it was an unwanted comment from Ranatunga.
“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.”
Venkatapathy Raju added that he was surprised to read about and comment. He said:
“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.”
India definitely starts as favourites: Venkatapathy Raju
Venkatapathy Raju believes that the India team is well-balanced and will start the series as favourites.
“If you look at the Indian side, it is well balanced. They have been together for a long time. All these guys are aspiring to be a part of the T20 World Cup squad and Sri Lanka we’ve seen are struggling with their own issues. So India definitely start as favourites. Then again white-ball cricket is always unpredictable. If you take a team lightly, anything can happen. Recently we saw Ireland beating South Africa,” he said.
The limited-overs series kickstarts on July 18 (Sunday) at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.