“The mixing of politics and sports is very unfortunate,” Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam said on Tuesday.
His statement followed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking for the exclusion of Sri Lankan players from the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches to be played in Chennai.
“We are concerned about mixing of politics and sports: now that is something very unfortunate. It should not happen in our region. Our concern is with regard to Sri Lankans visiting India including sportspersons and their security. Our cricketers are precious and their security is most important,” Mr. Kariyawasam told CNN-IBN news channel.
The IPL Governing Council on Tuesday decided to keep Sri Lankan cricketers out of Chennai in view of the opposition from Ms. Jayalalithaa. This decision will make Sri Lankan players skip the matches to be held in Chennai in view of the security concerns in Tamil Nadu over the atrocities carried out against ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka during the war against Tamil Tigers that ended in May 2009.
Eight of the nine IPL franchises have 13 Sri Lankans in their roster while Chennai, home to Super Kings, was scheduled to host 10 IPL matches this season.
Ten Sri Lankan players, barring CSK’s Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Kulasekara, will be missing just one match, the away encounter in Chennai. Dananjaya and Kulasekara, however, will miss around eight home matches.
Jeevan Mendis and Mahela Jayawardene are playing for Delhi Daredevils, Sachithra Senanayake for Kolkata Knight Riders, Lasith Malinga for Mumbai Indians, Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews for Pune Warriors, Kusal Janith Perera for Rajasthan Royals, Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan for Royal Challengers, and Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera for Hyderabad Sunrisers.
Jayawardene will captain Daredevils while Sangakkara will lead Sunrisers.