Under pressure from the Tamil Nadu government, the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council on Tuesday decided that Sri Lankan cricketers will not participate in the IPL league matches to be held in Chennai.
The Governing Council took the decision hours after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa mounted more pressure on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils and told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that no Sri Lankan cricketer will be allowed to play in her state during the upcoming sixth edition of the IPL.
"This is with reference to news reports last week that the government of Sri Lanka has issued a travel advisory that its citizens should exercise caution when travelling to Tamil Nadu," IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Today, the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written to the Prime Minister of India stating that she will not permit the participation of Sri Lankan players or umpires in matches in Chennai during Pepsi IPL 2013," he said.
"The IPL Governing Council met this afternoon to discuss the issue. The security of all involved in the IPL, whether players, spectators or those working in the stadiums, is of paramount importance to the BCCI. The Governing Council decided that Sri Lankan players will not participate in the Pepsi IPL 2013 League matches in Chennai and will advise the nine franchises accordingly," said Shukla.
In her letter to the Prime Minister, Jayalalithaa said that the state government will permit IPL matches only if the organisers promise that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff will participate.
"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 wrote in her letter to the Prime Minister.
"In view of the popular antipathy and anger in Tamil Nadu against the actions of the Government of Sri Lanka, the Government of Tamil Nadu is of the view that IPL matches involving Sri Lankan players, umpires and other officials should not be played in Tamil Nadu," the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo said.
Street protests have taken place in Tamil Nadu to denounce the Sri Lankan government for the killings of Tamil civilians in the war against the Tamil Tigers in the island country that ended May 2009.
Eight of the nine IPL franchises have 13 Sri Lankans in their roster. Chennai, home to Super Kings, is scheduled to host 10 IPL matches this season.
Ten Sri Lankan players, barring Chennai Super Kings Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Kulasekara, will be missing just one match, away encounter in Chennai. Dananjaya and Kulasekara, however, will be missing around eight home matches of Super Kings.
Jeevan Mendis and Mahela Jayawardene will be playing Delhi Daredevils; Sachithra Senanayake plays for Kolkata Knight Riders; Lasith Malinga is with Mumbai Indians; Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews are in Pune Warriors; Rajasthan Royals have Kusal Janith Perera; Royal Challengers have Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan; and Sunrisers Hyderabad have Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera.
Jayawardene will be leading Daredevils while Sangakkara will be in charge of Sunrisers.
The IPL 2013 will commence with an Opening Ceremony on the evening of Apr 2 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
The sixth edition of IPL will be played across the country from Apr 3 to May 26.