Chennai: Sri Lankan cricketers will not play Indian Premier League matches in Chennai. The IPL governing council decided this at a hurried tele-conference with team owners after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa wrote a letter to the Prime Minister today saying that no IPL matches would be allowed in the state capital if they involved Sri Lankan players, umpires or officials. The tournament begins next week and at least 10 matches are scheduled in Chennai.
Here are the top ten developments in this story:
- Ms Jayalalithaa said in her letter to the PM that emotions in her state are running high over the Sri Lanka Tamils issue. "In such a hostile and tense environment, we apprehend that the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL tournament, with many games to be played in Chennai, will aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and further offend the sentiments of the people," she said.
- She also said that her government would allow matches in Chennai only if the organiser, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), gave an undertaking that no Sri Lankan will be involved in them.
- IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla said, "Since the local administration has advised something, we have to keep that in mind. The security of Sri Lankan players is paramount."
- Mr Shukla also said that IPL team owners had expressed concern about security and that "we cannot take a tough stand." However, he denied that this amounted to buckling under pressure from the Tamil Nadu government.
- The IPL chairman made it clear that the 13 Sri Lankan cricketers in the tournament would play matches at other locations in the country. "The problem is only in Chennai", he said.
- The chief of the Lankan board, Ajith Jayasekara, said the players and his country's government had been informed. "We won't tell them don't go for the IPL, but we did inform them about the situation right now and it is for them to take a decision," he said.
- There have been protests all over Tamil Nadu for days now, with political parties and students demanding that the Centre take a strong stand against what they call Sri Lanka's "genocide" of its ethnic Tamils in the final months of the civil war that ended when defence forces crushed the separatist Tamil Tigers in May 2009.
- Last week the DMK pulled out of the UPA coalition at the Centre, accusing India of watering down a UN resolution against Sri Lanka that was adopted last week. India voted against Sri Lanka, but the Tamil Nadu parties say it let down Sri Lankan Tamils by failing to persuade the UN to use stronger language against the island nation and by not pushing for an independent rather than an internal inquiry into the alleged war crimes.
- The sixth edition of the IPL is scheduled to be held from April 3 and will be played in different locations in the country over 45 days.
- Ten matches are to be played in Chennai, which also has a home team in the Chennai Super Kings, with two Sri Lankan players in it, who will now be benched for all home matches. Eight of the nine IPL teams have Lankan players.