Sri Lanka not distracted by IPL developments - Mathews
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