Australian Economy

Australian cricketers raise ethical concerns ahead of team’s tour of Sri Lanka amid economic crisis in country

Australian players have raised ethical concerns about travelling to Sri Lanka for a full-fledged tour amid the economic crisis and political unrest in the country. Australia are scheduled to play 3 T20Is, 5 ODIs and 2 Tests in Sri Lanka in June-July. Ahead of the team’s departure next week, some of the members of the Australian team have raised concerns over travelling to the Island nation at such a time but will support the decision taken by the officials of Cricket Australia.

Cricket Australia CEO Todd Greenberg revealed the players have raised ethical concerns but confirmed that the tour will go ahead as per schedule. Sri Lanka is currently battling one of its worst-ever economic crises with inflation soaring across the country and an acute shortage of resources like fuel and electricity.

The ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka has occurred majorly due to a severe shortage of foreign currency reserves. While COVID-19 impacted the tourism sector in the country, the reduction in exports also took a heavy toll on Sri Lanka’s economy. Sri Lanka was under curfew earlier this month after protests in the country turned violent.

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With the Sri Lankans battling such difficult conditions at present, some of the Australian players feel it won’t augur well to tour the country in the current situation. At a time when there is a fuel shortage and regular power cuts, Australia are scheduled to play 3 T20Is against Sri Lanka under the lights in Colombo before moving to Pallekele for 5 ODIs and Galle for two Test matches.

However, Cricket Australia believes the tour can help Sri Lanka financially as the Aussies have not toured the country since 2016 and a full-fledged series can help in attracting big crowds to the stadiums. CA CEO Greenberg said Australian players are aware of the situation in Sri Lanka and there is a level of discomfort among them but they will follow the advice from CA.

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“The players are very aware of the situation in Sri Lanka and it’s fair to say there is a level of discomfort around touring in conditions that contrast those faced by the people of Sri Lanka, such as rising food prices, power cuts and fuel rationing,” Greenberg told AAP.

“Ultimately our players want to continue to play cricket and will take direction, guidance and advice from CA about tour arrangements and planning,” he added.

Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka will begin on June 07 with the first T20I at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Australia have already announced string squads across all three formats for the series and it remains to be seen if the tour will go ahead smoothly amid the ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka.

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