'No place for politics in sport'

Colombo: Former captain Aravinda de Silva has chose to react diplomatically over Sri Lankan cricketers' exclusion from the IPL matches in Chennai by stating that the players were grown up enough to take their own decisions in life.

"They're all grown up enough to decide what they want to do in life... They understand the situation well and I think those guys themselves decided to go," De Silva said, on Saturday. The IPL's governing council has decided that the matches in Chennai will not feature any Sri Lankan cricketers or match officials, following growing political tensions, stemming from the anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the Indian southern city.

The 1996 World Cup-winning hero, however, said that sports should be kept away from politics. "I think politics should be kept completely outside sport… Sport is something that bridges differences between various people. The best thing is to forget about politics and continue sport as sport," De Silva said on the sidelines of a promotional.

Asked about the comments by Arjuna Ranatunga, that the Lankan players should have boycotted the IPL, De Silva said: "It's an individual decision… As I said, I don't believe in bringing politics into sport. I would have preferred if the youth had not been forced to make decisions on things such as politics. I can't speak for anyone else," he said.

De Silva said that the Twenty20 format complements the other two formats of the game and should not be considered as a threat to Test cricket.

"There's enough room for Test cricket and ODIs to grow. An individual's skill and mental ability is tested more in those formats… T20 is more towards the entertainment side. The revenues generated by T20 can support the other two formats.

(PTI)

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