Sharjah: The decision of some Sri Lankan players not visiting Pakistan for the final Twenty20 International has kicked off quite a controversy, though former Lankan allrounder Russel Arnold feels that players’ refusal to go should remain a personal decision.
“Going or not going to Pakistan should be a personal decision. There are mixed feelings. It is exciting to know that cricket is returning to Pakistan, especially to Lahore where Sri Lanka had the best and also the worst of memories.”
When Sri Lanka’s head coach Nic Pothas, a former South African wicketkeeper-batsman, was asked why he had refused to travel when many South Africans had toured Lahore with the World XI team, Pothas said: “I believe that every individual has his own reasons and one has to respect the decision that is taken.”
Russel feels that the impact of the attack that happened in Lahore has stayed with a few. “What happened in 2009 (at Lahore) is little different to what happened in other parts of the world. Some of the players had first-hand experience while some have received first-hand feedback from those who were caught in it. You should certainly understand the feelings that is going around,” said Russel.
Seven Sri Lankan team players on tour here, along with even the team’s physiotherapist Nirmalan Dhanabalasingham, had decided not to tour Lahore for the T20I. When asked whether the players’ decision to not to travel to Lahore should have made them ineligible for the entire series, Arnold said: “One team playing right through is not a problem. It just doesn’t make sense picking teams for different purposes”.
To a query about the recipe for Sri Lanka to regain its credibility in limited overs cricket, Arnold said: “I think the players need to stand up and show some aggression. They need to show they have egos. There is only a certain extent that anyone around them can do. Once you cross that line I think they need to show some character and imagination and show how good they are.”
Are lack of good allrounders a major reason for their appalling performance in the ODIs, Arnold said: “We can look at it in various different ways but at the moment, whoever is on the park just has to put their hands up as it comes down to simple performance — which haven’t been coming Sri Lanka’s way. So before we talk about tactics or even combinations, Sri Lanka needs to know that there are players who can be trusted to take this team forward — which hasn’t been there. I guess it is up to the players to put that right first.”