The much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 is all set to begin next week, but the latest political interference triggered by the Sri Lankan Tamils issue could mar the spirit of the game.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha has written to the Indian prime minister seeking a restriction on Sri Lankan players from playing in the upcoming IPL matches in Chennai. She has also asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to prevent staff and umpires to officiate matches to be played in the state.
The news came after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) withdrew support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition government last week over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. The party said that the centre failed to amend the UN resolution against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes committed against the Tamils in the Island country.
It was also reported that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) might drop their two Sri Lankan players - Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dhananjaya - from the team, as the Tamil Nadu government is not in favour of Sri Lankan cricketers to play in the state.
Sri Lankan bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara (paceman) is one of the key attackers for the Chennai Super Kings, and Akila Dhananjaya (spinner) was picked from this year's auction. But sources said that the franchise is willing to drop them to ensure that IPL matches are played in Chennai as scheduled.
A total of 10 matches are scheduled to be played in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League which will begin on 3 April. The first match in Chennai is on 6 April between CSK and Mumbai Indians.
Tamil activists have threatened to disrupt games involving Sri Lankan players and this has become a matter of worry. Still, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said that it has no plans to shift the matches out of Chennai.
Eight of the nine IPL teams have Sri Lankan players. Among them are Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Kulasekara in Chennai Super Kings, Lasith Malinga in Mumbai Indians, Jeevan Mendis and Mahela Jayawardene in Delhi Daredevils, Kusal Janith Perera in Rajasthan Royals, Sachithra Senanayake in Kolkata Knight Riders, Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews in Pune Warriors, Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan in Royal Challengers, and Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera in Sunrisers Hyderabad.