Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here
The decision not to place himself in 2014's IPL auction was to increase the likelihood of getting a better contract in 2015, Kumar Sangakkara has said. A Sri Lanka squad is set to depart for tours of Ireland and England around 20 days into the 2014 IPL season, severely undermining the potential value of contracts for Sri Lanka players this year. However, Sangakkara hoped the new IPL rule that allows franchises to reassess and prune their player stocks annually, would work to his advantage in 2015.
"It's primarily a pragmatic decision," Sangakkara said. "Two-and-a-half weeks of availability is not attractive to franchises, so the chances of getting a better contract are higher next year, when I will be available for the whole tournament. The new rules allowing franchises to re-evaluate their squads each year mean that players from teams that have a busier schedule next year will be less attractive. That, in turn, may mean there are more funds available to fresh entrants."
West Indies, England, New Zealand and Australia all have series scheduled for the months of April and May in 2015, which will limit availability for players from those nations if the FTP is persisted with. Sri Lanka also have a limited-overs series against Zimbabwe scheduled during those months, but Sangakkara has hinted in the past that he will not play limited-overs cricket beyond the 2015 World Cup. Sri Lanka's postponed home Test series against South Africa is not likely to begin before June, after the south-west monsoon has passed.
Two other factors helped confirm the decision not to enter the IPL auction. Sri Lanka have a busy schedule in the approach to the IPL, with the Asia Cup and World Twenty20 to be played following the ongoing tour of Bangladesh. A break during the early weeks of the IPL would be welcome, Sangakkara said.
"It also allows me to have some time at home with my family," he said. "And I can do some preparation work for the England tour, with a focus on maintaining my fitness. I think all those factors contributed to the final decision.
"It's a decision that carries some risk, because you never know how things will pan out next year, but I feel it's the right one."
The IPL is expected to begin in the second week of April, with Sri Lanka's first match in Ireland scheduled for May 6.