IPL's Decision To Withdraw Sri Lankan Players From Chennai Matches Draws Criticism
The Indian state of Kerala government Wednesday "offered full support" to the Kerala Cricket Association if the need arose to stage matches at Kochi for the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League that begins April 3, according to IANS. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said, "The KCA had approached us that there could arise a probability wherein Kochi could stage a few matches of the IPL." The KCA office bearers, led by Secretary T.C. Mathew, approached Chandy after reports that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had written to Indian PM Manmohan Singh "asking that Sri Lankan players and officials be excluded from IPL matches to be staged in Chennai." Mathew said that "they are ready to host matches if there are any issues." Mathew: "We have already hosted IPL matches (fourth edition) in 2011 and we have no issues in organising it this time" (IANS, 3/27).
KEEPING QUIET: The PTI reported taking a potshot at arch rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Chief M. Karunanidhi on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said that "while he had demanded that India should not take part" in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, "he kept mum on Lankan cricketers playing in an IPL team owned by his family." Jayalalithaa: "Karunanidhi, who had revived the TESO, demanded that India should not take part in the CHOGM, but remained silent on Sri Lankan players in the team owned by his family. This is the height of selfishness" (PTI, 3/27).
HITTING BACK: In New Dehli, PTI wrote former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga on Wednesday "slammed IPL governing council's decision to withdraw Sri Lankan cricketers from Chennai matches of the tournament and asked the players to opt out of the entire high-profile event beginning April 3." Ranatunga: "... as far as cricketers are concerned I think if they can't play in south India (Chennai) they should play in other part either. I personally feel if players are not welcomed in one part of India they should not be part of any IPL." Ranatunga termed the decision "a political gimmick and said that the IPL governing council should have taken all the matches away from Chennai" (PTI, 3/27). Former Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan said, "It's a sad (day) for cricket as we are not allowed to play in a certain part of India. It is a government decision, if they cannot provide security for us, we have to be cautious" (PTI, 3/27).