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Rajapaksa favoured IPL over national cricket: Ranatunga

cricket Updated: Jan 15, 2010 19:13 IST
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Arjuna Ranatunga, the Sri Lankan world cup cricket winning captain, Friday accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of preferring the IPL matches last year even at the cost of playing for the national side.

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa allowed the Sri Lankan cricket players (last year) to participate in the IPL even if it meant it was at the expense of their playing for the national team to participate in international cricket matches," Ranatunga, who at that time was the Chairman of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka cricket, alleged at a press conference here.

Ranatunga was apparently referring to the controversy of Sri Lankan cricket players wanting to participate in the second edition of the Indian Premier League last year at a time when the SLC agreed for an ad-hoc tour of England around the same time.

This was to fill a vacancy created by the cancellation of a tour to England by Zimbabwe during the period. The tour was subsequently cancelled.

Ranatunga, who has had an uneasy relationship with Rajapaksa since he was sacked from the top post in Sri Lanka cricket, has put his weight behind opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka as the former top general seeks to unseat Rajapakse on January 26.

Rajapakse and Fonseka, who have been at loggerheads over who should claim credit for the military victory over Tamil Tiger rebels in May, are in a straight fight.