Caught in a cross-fire of yet another debate of his loyalty to his country, Kumar Sangakkara’s representation at the Champions League T20 tournament will likely be decided by the country’s cricket governing body, Sri Lanka Cricket.
Following a meeting with SLC officials on Monday, the former national captain, who incidentally stepped down as team captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise and was dropped for much of this year’s IPL campaign due to poor form, was informed by SLC that they would attempt to mediate with the Indian Premier League stake-holders in an attempt to have him represent the Kandurata team, the Sir Lankan team that qualified for the Champions League after winning the recent Super 4s T20 tournament.
Speaking to the ‘Daily Mirror’ in an exclusive interview, Sangakkara said that the issue, which had been blown into something it was not -- a question of country versus franchise –- and was a situation where “you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
“I had discussions with SLC on Monday, which was the first time we spoke and they very clearly told me they were of the opinion that I should play for Kandurata and I said if I had a free choice where I was not being penalized, my choice would definitely be Kandurata,” the star batsmen said.
“The way the public has viewed it and it has been presented to the public, it has been made into an issue where whichever way I go, I am the one who suffers. And so I told the Cricket Board I am more than happy for them to get involved and speak to the franchise in India and the IPL governing council, and secure my release in a manner that either doesn’t penalize me or penalizes me very minimally, so I am able to play wherever they direct me to play.”
The player has been in a rich vein of form recently, qualified for the Champions League with a third team, the Jamaica Tallawahs of the Caribbean Premier League.
“Unfortunately in the last week it has been portrayed as a country versus franchise issue, a money versus loyalty issue,” Sangakkara said. “And I think this has become very confusing and it unfair not just to me but to any player in this situation, because it is not the case. I think if local players are required to play for their home franchise, then those agreements must be discussed at the start of an IPL season when the cricket board, IPL and the player sign the tripartite contract, where it is said if the player has a conflict will have to play for the home franchise, but there is no such agreement there.”
The Super 4s tournament was born out of a necessity to decide a representative for the Champions Trophy after the original T20 tournament, the Sri Lankan Premier League, was cancelled due to poor interest from franchise owners.
“I wonder if it had been an SLPL franchise that had gone through like it should have, whether this question of country over IPL would have arisen because the team owners are all foreigners” queried Sangakkara. (Shehan Daniel and Hafeel Farisz)