Mathews puts series before IPL

March 28, 2013

A tension was clearly visible in his face. But Angelo Mathews was at least successful in not making it public. With the political storm over the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL growing intense, Mathews insisted they are not distracted at all.
‘As far as the players are concerned, we’ve got nothing to do with it,’ Mathews said on Wednesday ahead of the third and final one-day international against Bangladesh in Kandy.
‘We’ve always enjoyed playing in India. But there is a situation and the cricket board will let us know on that. As far as the team is concerned we’re not very much bothered.
‘It’s not a distraction at all. We’re not concentrating on the IPL right now. We’ve got one ODI and a Twenty20 against Bangladesh to go, so we’re concentrating on that. Maybe after the two games we can look into it, but for now we’re not interested in it.’
At least 10 players, who played in Sri Lanka’s first XI in the first two ODIs, have been contracted to IPL 2013 and most of the players were just waiting for this series to end so that they can join their franchises.
But until Wednesday evening they were not sure if they can travel to India at all. Cricket Sri Lanka finally issued a no-objection certificate following an assurance of security but it did not ease the tension.
At least two Sri Lankan cricketers, including one involved in the Bangladesh series, have now scrapped their plan to play in the IPL as they are contracted with a franchise based in Chennai, the epicentre of tension.
Chennai Super Kings instructed Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya to postpone their travel, though it is not clear the two will be permanently barred for the season.
The tension was brewing for quite some time after some Indian groups, known as sympathisers of Tamil Tigers, alleged that the Sri Lankan government had killed at least 42,000 Tamil people during the final stage of a civil war.
Tamil Nadu government also insisted that no Sri Lankan player will be welcomed in their capital, forcing the Board of Control for Cricket in India to act. The BCCI was initially reluctant to bow down to political pressure but issued a rule finally on Tuesday saying that no Sri Lankan player would participate in matches in Chennai.
Some former Sri Lankan players, including World Cup wining captain Arjuna Ranatunga, have asked the players to boycott the IPL but apparently no-one was ready to pay any heed, not even Cricket Sri Lanka, which receives 10 per cent share of players’ income from the cash-rich tournament.
Sri Lanka have dropped their West Indies tour and revised the schedule of their South Africa tour to accommodate the players in the cash-rich tournament.
It was not an easy decision for them to listen to Ranatunga, who is otherwise a highly respected figure in the country. When Mathews was asked about his advice, he just said, ‘I think I don’t need to answer to this.’

-With New Age input

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