Royal Challengers Bangalore's Muttiah Muralitharan has expressed disappointment at the IPL governing council's decision to disallow Sri Lankan players from participating in matches in Chennai this season, a result of growing political tensions in Tamil Nadu stemming from the treatment of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka.
"It's a sad [day] for cricket as we are not allowed to play in a certain part of India. It is a government decision, if they cannot provide security for us, we have to be cautious," former Sri Lanka spinner Muralitharan told NDTV. "I have spoken to Royal Challengers, they do not have any problems. I can play the non-Chennai games."
Muralitharan, a Sri Lankan tamil, said he had never felt out of place. "I played for 20 years in the Lankan team, I did not have any problems as a Tamil. The government and the cricket board always supported me throughout my career even when I went through a lot of problems. Earlier there was a time of war between the Tamils and Lankans but now people are living in peace in my country. So the concerned authorities in India must come and see how we are living in Sri Lanka and forget what happened in the past. We don't want another war-like situation now.
"If they allow us to play, we will definitely play in Chennai. Chennai is like a second home for me as my wife Madhimalar is from there. It is a sentimental situation for me. We do not want to get into politics and we just want to play our cricket and entertain our fans."
Muttiah Muralitharan retired from international cricket in 2011 after the World Cup final in Mumbai, and has since played in various Twenty20 leagues. He has played all five seasons of IPL thus far, for Chennai Super Kings (2008-2010), Kochi Tuskers Kerala (2011) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (2012).