Reacting to mounting pressure on the authorities to prevent its senior, iconic players from taking part in the forthcoming Indian Premier League, Sri Lanka Cricket today said that it was powerless to stop them.
“We can’t force the players not to go,” Nishantha Ranatunga, SLC secretary, said. Buddhist nationalist groups, through the last week, petitioned SLC to stop the cricketers from going to India to play in the IPL after the government had made it clear that they were free to go if they did not play in Tamil Nadu. The Ravana Force, one of the groups which urged SLC to engineer a boycott by Sri Lanka’s cricketers, said that his outfit would initiate sterner action if the players went to India.
“We will not let this happen. We will resort to much drastic action if they go”, Ven Ittakande Saddhatissa, a Buddhist monk said. Both the Ravana Force and the National Bhikku Federation have said that Sri Lankans must skip the IPL in protest against Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa’s ban order on the island’s players, telling them not to enter the state. There is anger among the people of Sri Lanka fuelled by the reported dropping of Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya by Chennai Super Kings as a placatory gesture towards putative anti-Sri Lankan elements in Tamil Nadu politics. Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga described the axing of the two Super Kings players as too serious a snub that Sri Lanka must think about.
As many as 13 Sri Lankan players are scheduled to play for different franchises in the sixth edition of the IPL starting on 3 April.
Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka’s T20 international skipper and has rejected offers to play in the sixth edition of the IPL, cricket board sources claimed.
Chandimal was not among the 13 Sri Lankan players originally contracted to play in the IPL auction. He is said to have rejected offers from Pune Warriors to fill in the void of the injured Australian captain Michael Clarke and from Delhi Daredevils to replace English batsman Kevin Pietersen, who is also injured.
His rejection came amidst controversy over the Sri Lanka players’ participation in the Chennai matches of the IPL.