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Sri Lanka not distracted by IPL developments - Mathews

Andrew Fidel Fernando

March 27, 2013

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Angelo Mathews gestures while taking rest during practice, Pallekele, March 27, 2013
Angelo Mathews says his team isn't distracted by the developments in India © AFP
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While the political storm over Sri Lankan players' involvement in the IPL rages in India, Angelo Mathews has insisted his side is focussed solely on the series at hand, against Bangladesh. Sri Lanka have an ODI and Twenty20 to play before the tour is completed, and must win the final game to take the series, after rain forced the abandonment of the second match.

Ten of Sri Lanka's playing XI for the first two ODIs have been contracted to IPL teams for the 2013 season, and most players had planned to leave for India as soon as their national commitments for this series had been fulfilled. Nuwan Kulasekara will not be joining his IPL side as scheduled, however, after the Chennai Super Kings franchise instructed both him and Akila Dananjaya to postpone their travel to Chennai, and although the remaining players will travel to India as planned, they will not be play any league matches in Tamil Nadu.

The BCCI had ruled on Tuesday that no Sri Lankan player would participate in matches in Chennai, and Sri Lanka Cricket reinforced that rule on Wednesday, when they decided to add a caveat to the players' no objection certificates, stating they cannot play matches in Tamil Nadu. "Based on a note sent by the minister of external affairs regarding the safety of players, and reports appearing in the electronic and print media, it was decided that the no objection certificates issued to the players be restricted to exclude their appearance at any venue in the state of Tamil Nadu, and also to obtain the Players' personal opinion on their willingness to participate in the event," a release said. The players are understood to be largely satisfied with the security arrangements elsewhere in India.

SLC had effectively cleared Sri Lanka's schedule to accommodate the full IPL tournament by cancelling a Test tour of the West Indies, and postponing a Test series against South Africa until 2015 - though the latter was also due to a scheduling conflict with the Sri Lanka Premier League. The indebted board relies on income from the IPL, which comes in the form of a 10% cut of player salaries.

Although the players have been urged by some, including Arjuna Ranatunga, to boycott the IPL, they are unlikely to do so, particularly given they have the board's implicit support to play in the tournament. Some players had flights changed, so as to avoid being routed through Tamil Nadu, but will join their teams as planned over the next week.

Mathews said he and his team were aware of the evolving situation, but had left the decision in the hands of the two boards. "As far as the players are concerned, we've got nothing to do with it. We've always enjoyed playing in India. But there is a situation and the cricket board will let us know on that. As far as the team is concerned we're not very much bothered.

"It's not a distraction at all. We're not concentrating on the IPL right now. We've got one ODI and a Twenty20 against Bangladesh to go, so we're concentrating on that. Maybe after the two games, we can look into it, but for now we're not interested in it."

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (March 28, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

Statement made by Matthews clearly shows that he would like to opt for money over pride and self respect for his country

Posted by mavrick1980 on (March 28, 2013, 4:41 GMT)

I say the game is bigger than petty politics. Let the players play the IPL and show the petty politicians in tamil nadu, that there is a world beyond their petty votes..

Posted by mavrick1980 on (March 28, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

I say the game is bigger than petty politics. Let the players play the IPL and show the petty politicians in tamil nadu that there is a world beyond their ridiculous ideals..

Posted by Dashgar on (March 28, 2013, 1:24 GMT)

Surely this is bigger than just Sri Lankan cricket. The worldwide cricket community should make a stand against this. Sure the IPL may not care if a few Sri Lankans are excluded or even boycott but how would they feel if players like Tendulkar, Dhoni or Kohli also boycotted in support of their teammates rights. Every player needs to make a statement that this discrimination is wrong.

Posted by peterss on (March 28, 2013, 0:45 GMT)

Great decision. Now world or at least whole of India will notice this issue! way to go

Posted by nickcarter80 on (March 27, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

Let's now see which of the SL players and SLC officials have a backbone to cancel this IPL participation. Or who will be kneeling down in front of money. It will be a very good reality check for the spectators about our players. Also, Sri Lankan spectators, please do not watch the IPL.

Posted by Chandima.Ceylon on (March 27, 2013, 16:03 GMT)

SLC cricketers should boycot the series.They should think about ccountry's dignity in despite of smaller country to india.

Posted by BOND_OO7 on (March 27, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

IPL is too long for the people to take interest in. Its almost two months of hectic schedule. I am not gonna watch the same boom boom everyday......

Posted by Shah71 on (March 27, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

If Srilanka players should follow the Great Arjuna Ranatunga's direction that players need to give pride over money.

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