Australian cricketers have raised ethical concerns over the Sri Lanka tour but will support a decision by officials to precede next month’s tour.
Australia is due to fly to Sri Lanka next week as the island nation is in the midst of an economic crisis and political unrest.
Sri Lanka was placed under curfew earlier this month after protests turned deadly, and although these have been lifted, rising inflation and shortages of key resources remain problematic.
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Cricket Australia officials received further assurances last week that the tour could continue safely, after a reconnaissance of the country by their own chief security officer in April also gave the go-ahead.
Players are also reassured that Australia’s first tour of Pakistan in 24 years went ahead without any security concerns, despite cases of bloodshed in the country.
But some players are believed to have expressed unease about the morals surrounding the Sri Lanka tour under the current circumstances.
For example, the three-game Twenty20 series will be played under floodlights in the capital city of Colombo, in a country plagued by power cuts.
It is believed that it was recently mooted that these matches could be changed to day matches, but this has yet to be confirmed.
The team will also travel across the country for the ODIs to be played in Pallekele ahead of the test in Galle at a time of significant fuel shortages.
The Australian Cricketers Association is aware of some players’ concerns, but CEO Todd Greenberg said there was no indication its members would not tour.
“The players are very aware of the situation in Sri Lanka and it is fair to say that there is some unease around touring in conditions that contrast with those faced by the people of Sri Lanka, such as rising prices. food, power cuts and fuel rationing,” Greenberg told AAP.
“Ultimately our players want to continue playing cricket and will follow CA’s guidance, advice and guidance on tour arrangements and planning.”
However, the unfolding tour is also believed to be able to help the Sri Lankan economy, with official figures showing record inflation of 33.8% year-on-year in April.
Australia haven’t toured the country since 2016 and are expected to draw large crowds for games in Colombo, Pallekele and Galle.
Led by Pat Cummins, Australian cricketers also waged a fundraising campaign with the United Nations during last year’s Indian Premier League at a time when a wave of COVID-19 horror gripped the country. .
The charity option is not as easy in Sri Lanka as the situation is not a humanitarian crisis, but players are open to offering support if possible.
“Our players are very lucky to be able to ply their trade across the world, and in that they form an affinity with the people of those countries,” Greenberg said.
“We saw an example of this last year when players left the IPL in India during the COVID crisis and were genuinely shaken by what they saw.
“Almost immediately they joined in support of a UNHCR campaign to raise funds and provide hospitals with much-needed oxygen.”