IPL 2021 will take place over the next two months across six venues in India. Unfortunately, the tournament will not feature a single player from the Sri Lankan cricket team. Last season, Isuru Udana was the only Sri Lankan star to play in the IPL. However, the all-rounder went unsold at this year's auction.
Sri Lankan legends Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are part of the backroom staff of the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021. But the two veterans decided against bidding for any current Sri Lankan star at the auction.
They have given their respective opinions on why none of the players from the island country made it to the league. While Sangakkara believed SLC's tour program's unpredictability cost their players an IPL deal, Jayawardene felt the Sri Lankan players did not fit any franchise's criteria.
While there will be no Sri Lankan stars in IPL 2021, seven players from the Asian island nation have won the IPL before. Here's a look at those seven names.
7. Lasith Malinga - IPL 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019
Lasith Malinga is the most successful Sri Lankan player in IPL history. The right-arm pacer is a former Purple Cap winner. He also retired at the top of the all-time wicket-takers' list.
Malinga represented the Mumbai Indians throughout his IPL career. He helped MI win their fourth championship by taking Shardul Thakur's wicket off the final ball of his career.
The Mumbai Indians won their first title in 2013, a season where Malinga scalped 20 wickets at an economy rate of 7.16. He took 24 wickets to help MI win in 2015. Two seasons later, Malinga could only scalp 11 wickets. Still, his team clinched the trophy.
6. Thisara Perera - IPL 2010
Not many fans would know that Thisara Perera got a chance to put his hands on the IPL trophy in 2010 in his debut season itself. The Chennai Super Kings picked up the Sri Lankan all-rounder at the auction before the third IPL season.
Perera could earn a place in the CSK playing XI only one time. He did not have a good outing with the ball, while he did not bat in his debut game. Eventually, the Super Kings released him from their squad ahead of the next season. However, Perera had become an IPL winner by then.
5. Nuwan Kulasekara - IPL 2011
Nuwan Kulasekara is another Sri Lankan player who won the IPL trophy in his first season with the Chennai Super Kings. The right-arm medium pacer earned his maiden IPL contract with the Chennai-based franchise at the 2011 mega auction.
Kulasekara stayed with the team for two seasons. He played six matches in those two tournaments, picking up five wickets at an economy rate of 7.06. CSK included him in their playing XI only once in 2011, but Kulasekara got the golden chance of lifting the IPL trophy that year.