For the first time in the history of the Indian Premier League, no Sri Lankan cricketers will feature in the tournament which is expected to be held in India, from April till the first week of June.
Even though the country will be represented by Kumar Sangakkara - the director of cricket at Rajasthan Royals - Mahela Jayawardene - the head coach of Mumbai Indians - and Muttiah Muralitharan, who is part of the coaching staff at Sunrisers Hyderabad, none of the eight franchises picked any player from the island nation in the IPL 2021 auction in Chennai on Thursday. “We will still have the representation, so we will be happy,” Jayawardene said jokingly after the auction.
“It is a bit disappointing. I think a few guys were on the radar, but it’s a tough place because we are looking at all 20 odd slots for the overseas players, and the majority of those slots were for the fast bowlers and all-rounders. Sri Lanka lacks a bit of that, but I am sure that the younger generation will come through, and till then, it is disheartening. But that is what it is,” Jayawardene said.
“IPL is the place where you try and get the best players in world cricket, and it’s a good message for the Sri Lankan cricketers to lift their game and be competitive so that they could be part of the IPL on their merit,” the former captain added.
Last year, Isuru Udana and Lasith Malinga were part of the IPL, but with Malinga pulling out due to personal reasons, only Udana played for Royal Challengers Bangalore. But he was released ahead of the auction this year and went unsold on Thursday.