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Jayalalitha: Strict no to Lankan players in Chennai IPL matches

Jayalalithaa

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa has written a letter to the Prime Minister declaring that the eight Sri Lankan players, who are slated to participate in this year’s IPL, will not be allowed to play the matches held at M. A. Chidambaram stadium, the home ground of the Chennai Super Kings.

Citing the worsening conditions in her state regarding the agitations over the Sri Lanka issue, she has warned that Sri Lankan players, umpires or officials visiting the state is not at all recommended. She wrote, “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.”

This year’s IPL is set to commence on April 3, continuing for 45 days. The sixth edition of the world’s biggest cricket league will be played in different venues all around the country, with Chennai hosting 10 matches. Ms. J. Jayalalithaa also mentioned in her letter that the Sri Lankan players are a part of eight different IPL teams.

Yesterday, she wrote to the Prime Minister, suggesting that, “if a Commonwealth meeting was held in Sri Lanka in November, it would not only embolden the Sri Lankan regime but also incense public opinion and sentiment in Tamil Nadu on this very sensitive issue even further.” And if the venue was not changed, she said, India should boycott it.

Almost all the major parties in Tamil Nadu including DMK and AIADMK are on a joint stride against Sri Lanka’s “genocide” of its ethnic Tamils during the final months of the civil war, which ended in May 2009, after the Sri Lankan army demolished the separatist militant organization in Sri Lanka known as the LTTE.

The franchisees have meanwhile reportedly met with the BCCI insisting they drop Chennai as a venue for the IPL.

The IPL board had earlier asked the IPL teams informally to drop their Sri Lankan players for matches in Chennai, to which the franchisees seem to have responded strongly by asking the board to drop Chennai instead. This would also, in their view, spare them from facing a strong Chennai Super Kings team without key players hailing from Sri Lanka.

But with BCCI President N. Srinivasan also the owner of India Cements, which in turn owns the Chennai team, the dropping of Chennai as a venue seems unlikely.

A change in venue has a precedent in the IPL, with matches moved out of Hyderabad in 2009 due to the Telangana crisis.

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