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April 1, 2013
Kumar Sangakkara, the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain, has said the decision to exclude Sri Lankan players from the IPL matches in Chennai will not "curtail" the spirit of cricket. The players, he said, continue to feel "very welcome" in other parts of India.
"Politics in this case has restricted our presence, our belief to play in every part of India. But I don't think sports and spirit of cricket is ever going to be curtailed by such prejudice," Sangakkara told PTI. "The build-up has been different and difficult for Sri Lankan players. But at the end of the day they are here to play IPL."
"The Sri Lankan Cricket Board has made it clear that no Sri Lankan players will be [playing] in Chennai. [But] India is much more than Chennai and Tamil Nadu, and I think the rest of India has been very welcoming of us."
The IPL's governing council decided that the matches in Chennai will not feature any Sri Lankan cricketers or match officials, following growing political tensions, stemming from the treatment of certain ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Responding to comments from former players stating that the Sri Lankans should boycott the IPL due to the restrictions, Sangakkara said: "It has been a divisive issue back home as well. But this is not a nation versus nation issue. It's only a state... and I don't think it is the entire state [Tamil Nadu].
"So, we've got to put it in the right perspective. Foreign policies are not going to be dictated by that and had it been a nation versus nation issue then Sri Lankan players would not have been here."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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