The participation of Sri Lankan players in the forthcoming edition of the Premier League has taken another hit. The chief minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stating that no Sri Lankan player or match official will be allowed to operate in Chennai due to the anti-Lanka sentiments prevalent in the state following reports of ghastly war crimes against the island nation’s Tamil population.
"In such a hostile and tense environment, we apprehend that the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL tournament, with many games to be played in Chennai, will aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and further offend the sentiments of the people," Jayalalithaa’s letter says.
As many as 13 Sri Lankans are slated to play for eight of the nine IPL teams this year. The most prominent of them are Kumar Sangakkara, captain of the Hyderabad Sunrisers, Mahela Jayawardene, captain of the Delhi Daredevils, and Lasith Malinga, one of Mumbai Indians’ key players.
In February, Jayalalithaa had cancelled the Asian Athletics Championships saying Lankan players would not be allowed in the state.
While Jayalalithaa’s stance had been known for a while, the BCCI has been adamant that games in Chennai would go as per plan despite some teams reportedly demanding that the city be dropped as a tournament venue this year.
Those teams, which stand to lose from the absence of their Sri Lankan recruits, cited the example of Hyderabad in 2010 which could not stage IPL games due to political protests and violence.
The BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said on Sunday: "As of now the matches will be held in Chennai. We have no plans to shift them out.”
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said on March 24 that the governing council was happy with the security situation in Chennai. "As of now the matches are not being moved out. But we are monitoring the situation," he had said.
Sri Lankans currently enlisted in the IPL:
Akila Dhananjaya (CSK)
Nuwan Kulasekara (CSK)
Mahela Jayawardene (DD)
Jeevan Mendis (DD)
Sachithra Senanayake (KKR)
Lasith Malinga (MI)
Ajantha Mendis (PWI)
Angelo Matthews (PWI)
Kushal Janith Perera (RR)
Kumar Sangakkara (SH/DC)
Thisara Perera (SH/DC)
When cricket becomes a political game