New Delhi: The governing council of the Indian Premier League has more or less decided to keep the Sri Lankan players out of Chennai in view of the opposition from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
If the decision becomes official, players from the island-nation will skip the Chennai-leg of the IPL 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.
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, also the union minister of state for parliamentary affairs, Tuesday said the local administration's advice cannot be ignored but he said the IPL matches will not be shifted out of Chennai and they will be played as scheduled.
"All the matches scheduled to be held in Chennai will go on as scheduled. As far as Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is concerned, we have briefed them about the security measures taken by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India)," Shukla told NDTV.
Reacting to Jayalalithaa's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which she has stated that the state government will permit IPL matches only if the organisers promise that no Sri Lankan player, umpire, official or support staff will participate, Shukla conceded that it would be difficult to overrule the local administration's concerns as it has to provide the "police bandobast" for the matches.
"Security and safety of the Sri Lankan players is paramount. But we have to take care of the local sentiments and after discussing the matter with BCCI chief N. Srinivasan the SLC will be briefed on the security situation," he said.
The IPL chairman said the franchises will also be advised and asked to take a call accordingly.
"A new situation has risen and we have to strategise the whole thing. We have to consider the local sentiments but we also have to take care of the security of the Sri Lankan players. The BCCI and the SLC have the best of the relationship," he 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 me missing around eight home matches of Super Kings.
Jeevan Mendis and Mahela Jayawardene will be 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 Hyderanad Sunrisers.
Jayawardene will captain Daredevils while Sangakkara will lead Sunrisers.