New Delhi: Tuesday’s decision from IPL organizers that no Sri Lankans will play in IPL 6 matches held at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, following Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s categorical disallowing of these 13 players to play in Chennai, has potentially left a few IPL franchises worried.
While not all the teams will be effected, some, such as Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors would have to rest key players for their respective matches in Chennai. Chennai also hosts two knock-out matches – Qualifier 1 on May 21 and the Eliminator on May 22 – so a lot of teams could suffer should they make it that far.
Chennai Super Kings
Teams such as RCB, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi could be hurt by the IPL governing council’s decision, especially if they reach the knock-out stage this season. Chennai play eight home matches in Chennai, but their roster includes just two Sri Lankans – Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya – neither of whom are not first-choice picks.
The spearhead of Mumbai’s bowling attack, Lasith Malinga, is a Sri Lankan. Mumbai play CSK in Chennai on April 5 which is their second game of the tournament.
The man tipped to lead Delhi, Mahela Jayawardene, would have to sit out the team’s match in Chennai on May 16. That is the 66th match of IPL 6, at which point Delhi would have played 14 matches already, so depending on how they would have progressed the absence of Jayawardene may or may not be too big. That said, Jayawardene is a key batsman for Delhi now that Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out and Ross Taylor has moved to Pune Warriors. The other Sri Lankan on Delhi’s roster is the legspinning allrounder Jeewan Mendis, who was purchased at the 2013 auction in a move to bolster the spin attack.
Sunrisers would be significantly hit by the ban on Sri Lankans in Chennai. Sangakkara, the former Sri Lankan captain, is the man most likely to captain the Hyderabad franchise having led Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab previously. With Shikhar Dhawan due to miss a chunk of the IPL with a fractured finger, and JP Duminy already out for the season, Sangakkara’s role at No. 3 has already increased. He is also the team’s first-choice wicketkeeper. Sunrisers forked out $675,000 for Sri Lankan allrounder Thisara Perera this season, so it is foreseeable that not having his services would be a big blow. Sunrisers play in Chennai on April 25.
Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka’s Test and ODI captain, is one of Pune’s leading allrounders. Though he flopped in IPL 5, he remains a crucial player in a team short on big-ticket players. Pune play in Chennai on April 15. Pune fought hard for another Sri Lankan, the spinner Ajantha Mendis, at the auction and secured him for $725,000; not having him around for one match may or may not be a big deal depending on how the management works out its combinations with the four overseas players cap.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB have two Sri Lankans who are key to their success – the opener Tillakaratne Dilshan and offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan, Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker. Dilshan has yet to really fire in Bangalore colors but remains a first-choice player, while Muralitharan left a mark last season as the team tried a five-man specialist bowling attack. RCB play CSK in Chennai on April 13.
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR bought Sri Lankan offspinner Sachithra Senanayake for $625,000 this season and are looking at him bowling in tandem with Sunil Narine. Not having Senanayake for their match in Chennai n April 28 shouldn’t be a major loss considering they also have Samuel Badree to choose.
Rajasthan are least likely to be effected considering they have just one Sri Lankan, the wicketkeeper-batsman Kushal Janith Perera, who is unlikely to see much playing time in IPL 6.