Former Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara thought that the franchises during the auction of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) were reluctant to take any Sri Lankan players because of the unpredictability surrounding players' availability due to their international commitments.
India is set to host the 14th edition of the IPL and it is the first time that none of the teams will be featuring any Sri Lankan cricketers. There was a clear lack of interest among IPL teams during Thursday's auction when it came to bidding for Sri Lankan cricketers despite the Island nation successfully hosting its own franchise-based T20 league, the Lankan Premier League (LPL), last year.
"There were some fantastic players [in the Lanka Premier League] and in Sri Lanka currently. But I thing 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.
Even though schedules have yet not been confirmed, the possibility is that the IPL will start from the second week of April and will run till the end of May. And Sri Lanka are scheduled to play a two-Test series at home against Bangladesh in April and will also tour Bangladesh in May for a three-match ODI series.
Many players from around the globe have made themselves available for the money-spinning T20 league with their respective boards granting them permissions. Bangladesh premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was the latest one to have been granted by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) permission to miss the two-Test series against Sri Lanka in order to fulfil his IPL commitment for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who bought the left-hander for 3.2 crore rupees.
But unlike most cricket boards, SLC have yet not given their players permission to miss international series for IPL.
"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," added Sri Lanka legend.
Meanwhile, another Sri Lanka legend Mahela Jayawardene mentioned that Sri Lanka did not have adequate players matching the demands of the IPL teams.
"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.