IPL 2013: Sri Lankan players hurt and disappointed, says Muttiah Muralitharan

Muttiah Muralitharan spoke about the mood in the Sri Lankan camp after the decision was taken to not allow then to play in Chennai © PTI

Bangalore: Mar 31, 2013

Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan spoke about the ongoing political fracas between India and Sri lanka and the reaction from the Sri Lankan players. In a major turn of events, the Sri Lankan players have been barred from playing in Chennai.

“It’s sense of hurt and disappointment. People are very sad, and also somewhat surprised by the turn of events. For us in Sri Lanka, India is a much loved country to visit and we have a lot of friends here. To be told that we are not welcome in a certain Indian city is not a good feeling. I hope this situation changes in the not-too distant future,” Muralitharan said, as reported by Times of India.

Talking about the decision taken by IPL’s governing council, Muralitharan said, “It is most unfortunate the sports and politics are getting mixed and Sri Lankan players won’t be allowed to tour Chennai as a result. While I say it is disappointing and frustrating I also know that it is a very sensitive issue politically and there are compulsions we players aren’t always aware of. For us we have always enjoyed playing in Chennai and hope that we can go back sooner rather than later.”

Asked whether the decision will have an impact on the tournament, Muralitharan said, “Of course it will. Some of the matches will be seriously impacted as a result. Mumbai without Malinga, for example, isn’t going to be the same team. The same applies for the Daredevils without Mahela [Jayawardene] in their ranks. For me Chennai is second home. I love the city and love playing at the Chepauk. It is extremely disheartening to know I can’t play there. It is a track that offers real help to us spinners and that means some teams will seriously lose out as a result of this decision. From a pure cricketing standpoint the decision has robbed the IPL of some of its sheen.

But, Muralitharan was also quick to rubbish that this political decision could have a long-term effect on the relationship between the two cricketing nations.

“Look time is the best healer. I don’t think this is a permanent thing. Yes, it is a very serious issue and all of us should respect the political sensitivities in both India and Sri Lanka. Having said that I have no doubt that the cricket boards of India and Sri Lanka will continue to be close and we will soon have a resolution to this issue. I don’t think this issue will create a fissure between the cricket boards of the two countries,” he said.

“I have said to you at the very start that as a cricketer it is extremely sad and frustrating to be suddenly told that you can’t play in a particular city. We are sportspeople and sports we have always been told is above everything. We are performers who entertain people and to be robbed of this opportunity is acutely frustrating,” he added.

Despite the ongoing tensions, Muralitharan joined his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates in Bengaluru for training ahead of the sixth season starting on April 3.