Arjuna Ranatunga not surprised at Sri Lankan players' IPL snub

Feb 15, 2014, 06:00 IST | Debasish Datta

1996 World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga angry, that only one Sri Lankan player was bought at the Indian Premiere League auction

Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga has reacted sharply to only one current Sri Lankan cricketer being bought at the Indian Premier League auction that concluded in Bangalore on Thursday.

Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera during his stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad last year

“I am not surprised,” said Ranatunga at Thisara Perera being the only current international player bought — by Kings XI Punjab. “He was picked just to show that there was no diktat (not to pick Lankan players). Do you think a player like Mahela Jayawardene doesn’t fit in to any IPL team? Kumar Sangakkara (who opted out of the League) and Mahela have won many matches for their teams.

Arjuna Ranatunga

“I had requested Mahela and Kumar not to participate in the IPL long ago. Now, they know why I prevented them,” said Ranatunga.

While Perera was bought on Wednesday, Lasith Malinga has been retained by Mumbai Indians while retired Muttiah Muralitharan was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore. Ranatunga suspects that the islanders were not bought because Sri Lanka did not support the plan for India, Australia and England to run world cricket at the recent ICC meeting in Singapore.

When informed that teams may have not gone in for Sri Lankan players since they are not available for the full tournament, Ranatunga shot back: “I don’t buy this argument because in the past there have been many instances of players not playing the full tournament.”

Ranatunga is not ruling out his country’s support to the Big Three. “I am not confident that Sri Lanka will not bow down to pressure ultimately. Now, it’s the age of give and take. Cricket has already taken the backseat,” he said yesterday.

Sri Lanka’s best-known skipper has always been anti-IPL. “I am not in the Sri Lankan cricket board, but I know the people of Sri Lanka are with me. From what is going on in the running of the game, people have realised that I was not wrong. I was against IPL right from Day One. Ultimately, the next generation of players will suffer for playing a lot of T20 cricket,” Ranatunga said.

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