Chennai: Bowing to intense political pressure, top Sri Lankan players were on Tuesday withdrawn from the Chennai matches of the high-profile IPL after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa refused to host them in view of the prevailing anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the state.
Earlier on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa wrote to the Prime Minister stating categorically that the 13 Sri Lankan cricketers in the IPL will not be allowed to play matches held in Chennai.
A few hours later, the IPL Governing Council met to discuss the issue and decided that Sri Lankan players will not participate in IPL League matches in Chennai. The Governing Council will advise the nine IPL franchises accordingly, putting an end to the intense speculation regarding the fate of the Sri Lankan players.
Altogether 13 Sri Lankan players, two of whom are 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 will continue to remain a venue.
"The IPL Governing Council met this afternoon to discuss the issue. 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 Pepsi IPL 2013 League matches in Chennai and will advise the nine franchises accordingly", IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla said in statement.
Shukla said that the Governing Council took the decision after the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister stating that she would not permit the Sri Lankan players in Chennai.
"This is with reference to news reports last week that the government of Sri Lanka has issued a travel advisory that its citizens should exercise caution when travelling to Tamil Nadu", the statement said.
"Today, the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written to the Prime Minister of India stating that she will not permit the participation of Sri Lankan players or umpires in matches in Chennai during Pepsi IPL 2013", the statement added.
Shukla said the Governing Council had to take the local sentiments and the safety and security of Sri Lankan players into account before taking a final decision.
"We had 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.
The sixth edition of the IPL is scheduled to be held from April 3 and will be played in different locations in the country over 45 days. Ten matches are to be played in Chennai, which also has a home team in the Chennai Super Kings, with two Sri Lankan players in it.