Sri Lanka minister prevents cricketers from travelling to India

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Colombo, Dec 5: Sri Lanka Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera has prevented the national One-day International (ODI) squad from leaving the country for not getting his approval before selecting the team.

The minister had forced nine cricketers of the squad to disembark a flight to India on Monday night.

"The selectors had made the selection on the first (of December) but as they were unable to come to a final decision on the inclusion of certain players, the squad was delayed in being sent to me," Jayasekera was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday.

The three-match ODI series between India and Sri Lanka will begin in Dharamsala on December 10.

The country's sports law states that all Sri Lankan national squads are subject to the sports minister's approval.

"How can I approve a team at such short notice? If you go by the sports law, it requires the list to be sent three weeks prior to leaving," he told the the Daily Mirror.

"Here, they are sending a team just three to four hours before leaving the country. So I had to recall them.

"I have nothing against the players. In fact, Thisara (Perera) called me last night from the flight and said, 'Sir we have already boarded'. But I told him, 'Nothing doing'. If I allowed them to go, I am setting a precedent here," he added.

"Most players reached the airport around 9pm on Monday. Left-arm spinner Sachith Pathirana had even boarded the flight, but they were told to go back home as the team didn't have the approval of the minister of sports," a cricket official was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.