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Lanka follow in India’s footsteps

Colombo, Dec. 14 (AFP): Australian authorities reportedly “harassed and humiliated” Sri Lanka’s national cricket team when they landed in Brisbane, a state-run newspaper said Saturday.

The Daily News said the Sri Lankan team was detained for two-and-a-half hours at Brisbane airport earlier this week, while authorities went through their bags and demanded they wash their shoes before entering the country.

“The foreign ministry should take this matter up with the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka and hold an inquiry into this rather sad state of affairs which concerns an international cricket team, who don’t deserve this type of humiliation to play cricket in a nation ruled by convicts,” the daily said.

It said the “harassment” was seen by the team as a “ploy of ga ining a psychological hold” ahead of the tri-series, which began on Friday.The newspaper also quoted manager Ajith Jayasekara as saying that the team was angry over the treatment meted out to them.

Australia has strict quarantine laws that require scrutiny of shoes that have been in contact with dirt in foreign countries. Sri Lanka receives visiting teams with a red-carpet welcome usually reserved for visiting heads of state.

Earlier this month, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh were slapped with fines of (NZ) $200 each by New Zealand’s ministry of agriculture at Auckland airport. The duo was carrying four pairs of used footwear but had declared only three. The footwear also carried traces of grass, which were disinfected there itself.

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