Jaya bouncer hits IPL fixtures in Chennai: No Lankans please, we are Tamils

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 26.03.13

New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI): The participation of top Sri Lankan players in the Indian Premier League cricket beginning April 3 was thrown into jeopardy on Tuesday, after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa refused to host them in view of the prevailing anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the state.

Jayalalithaa has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making it clear that IPL matches would be permitted in the state only if there were no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff in these matches.

The development has now virtually ruled out the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL matches in Chennai even as officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) went into a huddle to find a compromise.

Although the BCCI or the IPL Governing Council have not made any official statement, it is learnt that the IPL franchises would be advised to bench their Sri Lankan players for the matches in Chennai.

Altogether 13 Sri Lankan players, two of them captains of their respective teams, are taking part in the sixth edition of the league, which will start from April 3.

Chennai, the home for Chennai Super Kings, will stage 10 matches in all, including two eliminators, and a top BCCI official said that it would continue to remain a venue.

”We are reviewing the situation after the latest development and we will take a call. But we will go ahead with the tournament and Chennai will continue to be a venue,” IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla said.

“We have to take two things into account. We have to take the local sentiments into account and at same time the safety and security of the Sri Lankan players are paramount,” he said.

“If the local administration has given something we have to listen to that as ultimately we need the help of the state authorities to hold the tournament like security arrangement. We can't ignore the advice from the local administration,” he said.

Meanwhile, IPL matches scheduled in Bangalore on May 4 and 6 could either be shifted or rescheduled as elections to the state Assembly are to be held on May 5, and counting of votes on May 8.

“The matches on May 4 and 6 will be either shifted or rescheduled owing to Assembly elections in Karnataka. We will arrive at a decision in a couple of days,” an official of the state’s cricket association said.

The association held a meeting after Bangalore Police Commissioner Jotiprakash Mirji expressed his inability to provide "security to the IPL matches due to elections, the official said.

“It will not be possible for us to provide security for the matches as our officers would be deployed for elections,” Mirji told reporters in Bangalore.

Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad are scheduled to play their away matches against Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 4 and 6, respectively.

Last month, when protests erupted over the brutal killing of slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran's son, allegedly by Lankan soldiers, Jayalalithaa had said that her government would not host the 20th Asian Athletics Championships here in July, saying that Lankan players have no place in the state.

In September last year, Jayalalithaa had sent back a Lankan football team home and suspended a state official for allowing them to play a friendly match here.

Tuesday’s decision on IPL matches comes close on the heels of attack on Sri Lankan Buddhist monks in the state, allegedly by pro-Tamil activists.