No Lankan in IPL - signal of state of play | Sunday Observer

No Lankan in IPL - signal of state of play

7 March, 2021

It was a sad indictment on Sri Lanka cricket when not one cricketer drew the attention of the franchises during the bidding for cricketers to play in the money bag Indian Premier League bash due to begin in April in India.

The previous tournament could not be held in India and had to be shifted to the Middle East where it was successfully conducted in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with spectators not allowed in.

The Indian Cricket Board has made all arrangements and barring any unforeseen incidents, the tournament will be conducted with great efficiency like in previous years and probably a percentage of cricket fans allowed in owing to the prevailing covid-19 virus.

While most countries will have their best players showing off their prowess in the game earning money and snapped up by the many franchises, when it comes to Sri Lanka no player will be on the field---a measure of our poor standing.

The only consolation for Sri Lanka will be that Mahela Jayawardena, Muttiah Muralidaran and Kumar Sangakkara will be on show not playing, but in different capacities. Jayawardena as usual coach of reigning champions Mumbai Indians, Muralidaran on the bowling staff of Sunrises Hyderabad and Sangakkara Director Coaching at Rajasthan Royals.

That the franchises did not find it worth bidding for a Sri Lankan player is because no player was of any value and lacked the talent to contribute to the success of a franchise. This only proves that the levels of the game have hit a new low with no crowd pulling players in the local scene.

Who or when the next Lankan will be worth a buy by any of the franchises will be interesting to watch. The IPL is the tournament that not only players but all connected to the franchises earn big money from.

It is interesting to note that all-rounder Shakib al Hassan from Bangladesh has requested and was released by the Board to play in the IPL while skipping the Sri Lanka tour. Although country comes first the Bangladesh board has allowed Shakib to earn more money playing in the IPL than the money he will earn playing in Sri Lanka. Shakib will earn $441,304 dollars playing for Kolkata Knight Riders.

It was not long ago that past cricketing stalwarts such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralidaran, Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga and Isuru Udana to name a few were in demand by the franchises.

The IPL will be a big attraction because it will be conducted where it all started in cricket crazy India where there is the possibility of fans allowed in to cheer and inspire their heroes.

It is sad that the moon among the stars the likeable and crowd attracting Malinga wil not be seen in this edition’s IPL too. With his unusual slinging action and unplayable Yorker he was a thorn in the flesh of all opposing batsmen and they feared him.

From the time reigning champions Mumbai Indians took him on their payroll he did not let them down but delivered consistently and made them champions much to the delight and elation of the Ambani brothers the franchise holders of the Mumbai Indians.

Sad that Vaas had to pull out

While there was a chaotic situation in the appointment of cricket selectors after the resignation of former bowling all-rounder Ashantha de Mel, it is understood that two selectors Pramodya Wickremasinghe and Romesh Kaluwitharane picked the squad that is touring the Caribbean.

On the eve of the tour calamity struck when pace bowler Lahiru Kumara was tested positive for covid-19 and former left arm brilliant paceman Chaminda Vaas pulled out from the bowling coach’s job.

Vaas who has done a wonderful job as bowling coach was roped in for the Caribbean tour when foreigner Sakar suddenly resigned prematurely. It is understood that Vaas’s quitting on the eve of the tour was due to lack of payment.

If that is the problem and if it is true, then Vaas cannot be faulted. Sri Lanka Cricket need not be reminded of the axiom that a labourer is worthy of his hire. Vaas is no ordinary bowling coach. His credentials are high class as his figures in all formats of the game show.

When Vaas informed Sri Lanka Cricket of his unwillingness to tour a few hours before the squad emplaned, both parties should have sat down and indulged in Consultation, Compromise and Consensus and this unhappy situation could have been averted.

As for us with Vaas being on the staff of SLC he would have shown the sport in him by going on the tour, coming back and telling SLC what he felt about the whole thing and ironed things out. As it is the squad will be in the Caribbean sans a bowling coach and if we lose the series Vaas should not be blamed.

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