With Sri Lankan players barred from playing Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in Chennai, Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kumar Sangakkara said the spirit of sport is not going to be curtailed by such pettiness.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kumar Sangakkara , said the decision to exclude Sri Lankan players from the IPL matches in Chennai will not “curtail” the spirit of cricket. The players, he said, continue to feel “very welcome” in other parts of India.
“Politics in this case has restricted our presence, our belief to play in every part of India. But I don’t think sports and spirit of cricket is ever going to be curtailed by such prejudice,” But at the end of the day they are here to play IPL.”
The Lankan great was reacting to a query if politics has affected the participation of Sri Lankan players in Chennai.
Bowing to intense political pressure, the IPL governing council last week withdrew top Sri Lankan players from all the Chennai matches of the high-profile IPL after Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa refused to host them in view of the prevailing anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the state.
Altogether 13 Sri Lankan players are taking part in the sixth edition of the IPL starting April 3.They were withdrawn from matches to be played in Chennai after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa refused to host them in view of the prevailing anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the state.
The Sri Lankan Cricket Board has made it clear that no Sri Lankan players will be playing in Chennai,” Sangakkara said.
He pointed out that “India is much more than Chennai and Tamil Nadu and I think the rest of India has been very welcoming of us”.
“We are here to play cricket representing Sri Lanka and also on behalf of our franchisee.”
Reacting to another query, over former captain Arjuna Ranatunga’s comment asking the Sri Lankan players to opt out of the tournament over the matter, Sangakkara said, “It’s been a divisive issue back home as well. But this is not a nation-vs-nation issue.
“It’s only a state… and I don’t think it is the entire state (Tamil Nadu). So, we got to put it in right perspective.”
He further said, “Foreign policies are not going to be dictated by that and had it been a nation-vs-nation issue then Sri Lankan players would not have been here.”
Meanwhile The Bodu Bala Sena has warned that national cricketers who are scheduled to play for dollars at IPL 2013 edition despite ill-treatment of Sri Lankan by India should be prepared to be greeted with rotten eggs at the Katunayake International Airport on their return from the tournament.
This was stated by Galagodaaththe Gnarasara thera of the bodu bala sena at a meeting held at Pannala in Kurunegala.