SLC hopes Sangakkara picks local team over IPL side
Kumar Sangakkara met with the SLC executive committee on Tuesday evening to discuss whether he would represent Kandurata Maroons or Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Champions League, but no decision has been made yet. SLC remains hopeful that Sangakkara will play for Kandurata, and has begun a discussion with Sunrisers regarding Sangakkara's release.
"What we told Kumar at the meeting was that we would like him to play for the local team," SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said. "We have told the franchise we would like Kumar to play for the local team as well."
Ranatunga also said Sangakkara was "happy to play for Kandurata," but stopped short of confirming he would appear for his local team. Champions League organisers had confirmed on Monday that players who do not play for their IPL team in the tournament do not breach any contracts, although they do take a significant pay cut.
Sangakkara stands to lose $140,000 from his $700,000 IPL salary if he opts out of playing for the Sunrisers and the board's correspondence with the franchise is understood to include a request to mitigate this penalty. Whether Sunrisers are content to allow Sangakkara to play for Kandurata but still pay him his full salary may be dependent on whether Sangakkara shapes as a major cog in their tournament strategy.
SLC will hope 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 also been in the limited-overs form of his life in the past three months, in which he has revealed a new, hyper-aggressive facet to his batting, borne out through an unprecedented range of strokes.
In contrast, Sangakkara 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