Arjuna Ranatunga has always been critical of the impact of Indian Premier League. And now that the cash-rich Twenty20 league has become a tool in the hands of politicians, the former Sri Lanka skipper’s opposition of the event has increased.
Voicing his protest over the decision to prevent Sri Lanka players from participating in the IPL matches at Chennai, he said: “I am disappointed with the IPL organisers. If their concerns were genuine, they should have taken all the matches out of South India and played at other venues. We have played in South India before and never faced any problem.”
“I am not a big fan of the IPL, but there are people in Sri Lanka who follow it, and generally they are very upset here with how our players are being treated. Our players should show some spine and pull out of the IPL,” he added.
When asked about some current Sri Lanka players feeling he’s not rational in his criticism of the IPL, Ranatunga retorted: “My issue is that everyone is talking mainly about the money and not cricket. My other major issue is the brand of cricket they play in the IPL. It feels like a fungus has entered cricket. We have faced issues where players have started to prefer the IPL over country. Sri Lanka faced it, so did West Indies. The BCCI will realise its negative effect soon.
“It's not a national event. IPL is a private tournament organised by teams owned by some very rich people in India. It doesn’t help the game or the players, except making some extra money.
“The franchises are only there to make money; they don't have the game's interest at heart.”
The World Cup-winning skipper said Lanka players’ participation in the IPL will be seen as endorsing allegations of human rights abuse against Sri Lanka.
“Our players should look beyond their pay packets and understand that their country may have to pay a price in future for their actions. It’s a gimmick by the Tamil Nadu politicians. Did they speak a year ago about it? Cricket and politics shouldn't be mixed. They remember the Tamil people of Sri Lanka only when there are elections.”
'Players free to play’
Sri Lanka Cricket secretary, Nishantha Ranatunga said: “I don't think Lankan players should boycott the IPL just because of political party and views. The game should be kept away from it. That is the SLC policy. BCCI has no reservations with regard to our players coming in.”