The IPL 2013 matches in Chennai did not feature any Sri Lankan cricketers or match officials, the league’s governing council had declared after a meeting. It clarified that the decision was taken keeping in mind security concerns in Chennai.
“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 IPL 2013 league matches in Chennai and will advise the nine franchises accordingly,” the statement said.
The decision followed growing political tensions, stemming from the treatment of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka and capped by a letter written by the Tamil Nadu state government to the Indian Prime Minister asking for a ban on Sri Lankan involvement in the Chennai leg of the tournament.
The letter was unequivocal in its stand. “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.”
Home side Chennai Super Kings’ Sri Lankan contingent consisted of only two fringe players, Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya. Franchises that were significantly hit, at least for the lone game they play in Chennai in the league phase, included Mumbai Indians (Lasith Malinga), Delhi Daredevils (Mahela Jayawardene), Sunrisers Hyderabad (Kumar Sangakkara) and Pune Warriors (Angelo Mathews).
“We were first told by the IPL authorities about the problem in Tamil Nadu around a fortnight ago. And after due consultations, almost all the franchises are happy losing one or two of their players for one game rather than the whole tournament,” a franchise official opined.