Many former and present Sri Lankan cricket players have expressed their concerns about the current state of affairs in their motherland as Sri Lanka experiences one of the biggest crises since its independence.

Before moving to an anti-government protest location outside the presidential office, hundreds of supporters of the ruling party congregated outside the official mansion of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president’s older brother.

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Some cricketers including legendary batsmen Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakarra have openly criticized the ruling political class, especially the Rajapaksa Brothers using hashtags like #GoHomeGota.

On July 9, Kumar Sangakkara posted a video of the Sri Lankan protesters on his official Twitter account to show his support for them. Mahela Jayawardene, a former teammate, reposted Kumar Sangakkara’s tweet.

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Sri Lankan cricketers had also spoken about the crisis while they were participating in the IPL. Many had thanked India for its help to the island nation.  Former Sri Lankan civil aviation minister and former cricketer Ranatunga compared India like an older brother for the island nation’s citizens. 

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“I am glad that they (India) are monitoring the situation rather than giving money to Sri Lanka. They are looking at our needs like petrol and medicines and I am sure that these are things we will be lacking in a couple of months. India has been helping us in a big way,” Ranatunga said, according to ANI.

Ranatunga, the World Cup-winning captain of Sri Lanka’s cricket team, and fellow former captain Sanath Jayasuriya have joined public demonstrations calling for the president to resign due to the nation’s economic difficulties.

In Sri Lanka, where cricket is a popular sport, the two urged other former players to back efforts to remove President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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With chronic shortages of basic necessities and frequent outages generating widespread hardship, the island nation is currently experiencing its greatest economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948.

People in the crowd have been yelling, “Gota go home, gota.”