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Australians clarify shoe controversy

Colombo: Australian officials cleaned shoes of Sri Lankan cricket players when they arrived in the country for a tri-nation tournament, the Australian High Commission here said.

In a letter to the state-run daily news, the High Commission said on Wednesday that the Sri Lankan team spent a little over an hour at the airport and they were subjected to the same quarantine checks as other passengers.

The Daily News had said that the Sri Lankan team was detained for two and a half hours at Brisbane airport last Wednesday while authorities went through their bags and demanded they wash their shoes before entering Australia.

“Cricket shoes of international teams are routinely checked for quarantine purposes,” the high commission said. “Australian officials cleaned the shoes, not the (Sri Lankan) team members.”

The Daily News on Saturday asked for a foreign ministry probe into the affair and said Sri Lankan players did not “deserve this type of humiliation to play cricket in a nation ruled by convicts”.

The paper said the “harassment” at the airport was seen by the team as a “ploy of gaining a psychological hold” over them ahead of the one-day cricket series against Australia and England, which began last Friday.

England scored a 43-run victory over Sri Lanka in their match at the Gabba in Brisbane on Tuesday. (AFP)

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