Former cricketer and minister Arjuna Ranatunga on Tuesday urged all the Sri Lankan players, who are playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), to come and stand in support of their country during the ongoing economic crisis.
Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people in the island nation. The economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I really don’t know but there are some cricketers who are lavishly playing in the IPL and haven’t spoken about their country. Unfortunately, people are scared to speak against the government. These cricketers are also working for the cricket board under the ministry and they are trying to protect their jobs. But now they have to take a step as some of the young cricketers also came forward and gave statements in support of the protest,” Arjuna Ranatunga told ANI.
“When something is going wrong, you should have the guts to come out and speak against it, without thinking about your business. People ask me why I am not in the protests. It’s just that I have been into politics for the last 19 years and this is not a political issue. So far, none of the political parties and politicians have got into the protests and that’s the biggest strength of the people of this country,” he added. Earlier, Sri Lankan players like Wanindu Hasaranga and Bhanuka Rajapaksa came in support of the ongoing protests against the economic crisis.
“I am sure you all know who are the players, playing in the IPL. I don’t want to mention but I would want them to leave their job for a week and come in support of the protests,” said the former cricketer. The economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting tourism.
Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has affected its capacity to import food and fuel. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries. The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Earlier, in a special address to the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa requested people to remain patient and stop taking to the streets in order to enable the government to resolve the situation.