Initially, Sri Lanka played a massive part in the money rich Indian Premier League (IPL) with talented players in almost every franchise. However, it has now come to a stage where the league has renounced and rejected talent from the neighboring island.
Why does the IPL detest Sri Lanka? Are we to blame ourselves for this?
Sri Lankans especially Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan have done remarkably well in the initial stages of the league. Jayasuriya has been an indestructible force for the Mumbai Indians alongside the little master Sachin Tendulkar.
Alternatively, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara have led franchises quite well in the past. However, their time is long gone. All four players
This year, only two Sri Lankans were picked by franchises at the all-important auction. As usual, IPL’s most valuable player Lasith Malinga was retained by the Mumbai Indian for the 9th consecutive year. The 33-year-old was back in form after an extended pause from cricket.
Meanwhile, Mahela Jayawardena was picked to make his coaching debut for the Mumbai India. Under his influence, they were fortunate to buy Asela Gunaratne from the auction. Furthermore, the Delhi Daredevils bought skipper Angelo Mathews for Rs. 2 crores. He too will miss the better part of the league due to injury.
With the retirement of the greats, Sri Lanka has struggled to find replacements, especially in the shorter format of the game. The newbies have showcased glimpses of talent but failed to establish and cement their place in the squad. Giving preference to experience, the Indian Premier League has rightfully turned their back towards Sri Lanka.
“At the moment, Sri Lanka does not have capable players to play in the IPL. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England, there are a lot of good players there. The tournament can have 32 international players, our guys don’t fit into it. Actually, we are lacking a little bit. We had great players but they all retired. Until the new guys establish themselves, IPL won’t pick them because you have to pick the best 4 players. There are other more experienced players available, why should they pick inexperienced Sri Lankan players?,” said the Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan.
Murali also took a lash out at other leagues that do not accommodate Indian players.
“T20 cricket around the world is helping cricket reach out to more younger people. That is more important because of those days, Test and ODIs was watched by older people. Now there are more younger fans, it’s good that the IPL started this in 2007. The payments help the players to live their life. Whatever said and done, if Indian players are not going to play in those tournaments, it’s not going to be a big hit. Because, everyone wants Indian players, if they’re not allowed to play there, it won’t have a big impact like the IPL,” he added.
Nevertheless, Sri Lanka has done remarkably well as a Twenty20 unit in the recent past. Back to back series wins against South Africa and Australia have transformed the side into a deadly force. If players stay fit, the side will only get better in tours to come. Therefore, to develop as a team, Sri Lanka does not necessarily need the Indian Premier League.
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