IPL 2021: Sangakkara and Jayawardene opine on the absence of Sri Lankan players

Mahela Jayawardene

The IPL auction for the upcoming 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), hosted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on February 18, 2021, in Chennai, saw all the registered Sri Lanka players getting unsold. The T20 Extravaganza will not feature any player of the island nation this year. Two veteran Lankan players including Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have contrasting views regarding the same.

Former Sri Lanka cricketer and the current Director of Cricket with the Rajasthan Royals Kumar Sangakkara opined of the whole issue saying that there were many capable Sri Lankan players registered for the auction but the uncertainty around their availability for the whole season due to the scheduling of Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) international programme, resulted in going unsold.

“There were some fantastic players [in the Lanka Premier League] and in Sri Lanka currently. But I think the crucial thing is the unpredictability of the touring programme of SLC [Sri Lanka Cricket] where it is very hard to predict for how long the players can be available and if they have to even leave at some point in the IPL season,” said Sangakkara, Director of Cricket for Rajasthan Royals, during a virtual press conference on Friday.

“So it adds a bit of volatility that franchises kind of shy away from. That is one of the reasons you see a lack of Sri Lanka players in the IPL and definitely not because they don’t have the capability,” he added.

The majority of overseas slots were for the fast bowlers and the all-rounders: Mahela Jayawardene

However, former Sri Lanka captain and current head coach of the defending champions Mumbai Indians Mahela Jayawardene doesn’t agree with Kumar Sangakkara as he believes that Sri Lankan players didn’t fit in the criteria the IPL franchises were looking for in the auction.

“It is disappointing and disheartening I think a few guys were on the radar, but it is a difficult place because we are looking at 20-odd slots for overseas players, and the majority of those slots were for the fast bowlers and the all-rounders. Sri Lanka lacks a bit of that,” said Mumbai Indians head coach Jayawardene.