Champions League T20 2013 news August 29, 2013

'Team choice not about loyalty or money' - Sangakkara


Players who choose to play for their IPL franchise over their local team in the Champions League do not betray their nation, Kumar Sangakkara has said, after a meeting with Sri Lanka Cricket on Tuesday evening yielded no concrete decisions on which team he would represent in the tournament. Sangakkara has been named in the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad, but SLC have also asked him to play for the Kandurata Warriors side, Sri Lanka's only team in the tournament.

If he plays for Kandurata, however, Sangakkara stands to lose $140,000 from his IPL salary - a figure which is close to his entire annual earnings from the board. Although he is financially vulnerable under his IPL contract, he will not breach that contract if he plays for his local team, as the Champions League rules leave the choice of the team to the player.

"Unfortunately in the last week it has been portrayed as a country versus franchise issue; a money versus loyalty issue," Sangakkara told Daily Mirror. "That's unfair, not just to me, but to any player in this situation, because it is not the case. I think if local players are required to play for their home franchise, then those agreements must be discussed at the start of an IPL season between the cricket board, the IPL and the player, but there is no such agreement there."

"The way the public has viewed it and it has been presented to the public, it has been made into an issue where whichever way I go, I am the one who suffers."

After their meeting, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said the board had begun discussions with Sunrisers Hyderabad regarding Sangakkara's release. SLC's correspondence with Sunrisers includes a request to mitigate the financial penalty Sangakkara is liable to receive if he does not play for Sunrisers, Sangakkara said.

"I told the cricket board I am more than happy for them to get involved and speak to the franchise in India and the IPL governing council, and secure my release in a manner that either doesn't penalise me, or penalises me very minimally, so I am able to play wherever they direct me to play."

Whether Sunrisers are content to allow Sangakkara to play for Kandurata but still pay him his full salary may be dependent on whether they have planned for him to be a major part of their tournament strategy. Sunrisers coach Tom Moody would not be drawn on whether his team would acquiesce to SLC's request, but told ESPNcricinfo that Sangakkara remained "an important cog of the team, as all our international players are."

SLC will hope, however, that Sunrisers did not plan to play Sangakkara in their preferred XI, and that they will be swayed by the prospect of retaining the $150,000 sum that a foreign franchise must pay a players' qualifying home team, if he plays for the foreign team in the Champions League.

Despite its dire financial situation, SLC has seemed unconcerned about receiving this payment and Ranatunga confirmed the board was happy to effectively incur that loss.

Sangakkara is crucial to Kandurata's hopes in the tournament as he was their most experienced player in the domestic competition, and is also capable of providing leadership support to young captain Lahiru Thirimanne. He has been in the limited-overs form of his life in the past three months, in which he has revealed a hyper-aggressive facet to his batting, borne out through an unprecedented range of strokes.

In contrast, he had had a poor IPL for Sunrisers, and although he began the season as captain, he increasingly left himself out of the side towards the end of the tournament.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robin on September 2, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Sangakkara selected Kandurata Warriors just because he was questioned about his loyalty to his country. Well done Nishantha Ranathunge!

  • Asela on September 1, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    This mess is due to the lack of foresight on the part of the cricket board. They should have considered the issues beforehand and had some meaningful solutions that would have not deprived the players of their earnings. As it is, both the board and the player stand to lose either way. The president,secretary and the negotiators have displayed their lack of acumen in this regard. It is therefore unjust to penalize a true professional like Sanga.

  • Balaji on August 31, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    It is a club tournament. I do not know where national loyalties come into play. If it is Sri Lanka or SRH, Sanga should choose Sri Lanka. SLC should look more to put its finances in order than play politics.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    T20 players should be restricted to play for one franchise only at a time wherever in the world as in football so questions of loyalties don't arise. Present system is like mercenaries hiring their guns for highest bidder and jumping from one war to another without even caring or just retiring from national duties

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    Sanga's form has drastically changed from when he was playing in the IPL to the last series he played. If he did play for SRH, he would have been in the starting eleven. Whichever team that Sanga represented would greatly benefit with his experience and current form and the issue of Country vs Money has been greatly blown out of proportion.

    After all, cricketers are professionals as well, and they too need to make sure they earn enough money to look after themselves for the rest of their days.

    Also, our local teams should not overly rely on our main stars all the time. Tournaments like the CLT20 are good chance for our youngsters to play against world class players from all over the world.

  • James on August 30, 2013, 3:47 GMT

    @GlobalCricketLover: I dont think they are talking about "docking money for not playing for an IPL team' in the sense that you are talking about. Its just that if/as he is not playing for them, they will not be paying him for playing(not being available)- which doesnt sound unfair. In addition, as the IPL teams are not borrowing him from his home country, they are also not paying any compensation for his home team. In fact it is the IPL teams that are getting 'docked' in terms of payment of compensation to home teams for players who choose to play for them over their home country teams.

  • Johnathon on August 30, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    While Sangakkara does have a point in the position he is in, he should still (and all players in my opinion) should play for his home team. IPL teams are overpowered and while only one team from each country is allowed to play in the Champions League, there can potentially be 4 IPL teams in the tournament. Also, by players going to their own home team, it balances out the teams quite immensely. Imagine if Gayle and AB De Villiers was playing AGAINST Bangalore. Or if Mumbai and Pollard played against Mumbai. Completely different scenarios and would take these superpower IPL teams to more balanced team. Think the ICC needs to mediate these franchise T20 leagues or they need to make the amount of International Players per team to like 6-7.

  • o on August 29, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    The players from W.I OZ NZ and S.A should do the same this is not IPL the goal of CLT20 should be to create a Club World Cup feel, we don't want a 1 sided bore-a-thon with 4 IPL sides going straight to the finals we need competitive cricket otherwise it's meaningless !

  • Justin on August 29, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    Out of curiosity - how many IPL teams are allowed in this years CLT - is it 7 or 8 sides that automatically qualify?

  • Justin on August 29, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    I will always support country and state before any other side and player individually. I would go so far as to say I would look down upon a player who has grown up with in a local side and ends up playing for an IPL side. They may be getting the cash from IPL but where would they be with out all the investment that has come from their local / state sides - how do you put a price on that? Perhaps the players should give something back to their local clubs and fans.

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