When Arjuna speaks of cricket, Sri Lanka listens. Lashing out at the cricket administrators for having permitted national players to skip the Tamil Nadu leg of IPL in view of Jayalalithaa’s ban and play other matches elsewhere, he has called upon them to boycott IPL in toto if they have an iota of dignity and love for the country. One cannot but agree with him. That exactly is what they should do in protest if they could overcome their greed for money. Either they play all IPL matches or they do not play at all.
The reason Jayalalithaa has given for her ill-conceived action against Sri Lankan players is what she calls ‘genocidal violence’ in this country. Skipping Tamil Nadu in keeping with Jayalalithaa’s order is tantamount to subscribing or acquiescing to her condemnation of Sri Lanka, as Arjuna argues. The IPL organisers should have challenged her order legally or otherwise or at least lambasted it in public. But, nothing of the sort has happened. Instead they have obeyed it and decided to go ahead with matches in Tamil Nadu at the expense of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan players ought to pull out of the tournament in protest not against India, which stood by this country in 1996 and sent its team here to play when Australia and West Indies refused to come citing security reasons, but against the wayward IPL organisers and Jayalalithaa, who is all out to confer pariah status on Sri Lankan sportspersons. No other country would have stomached such indignities.
Sri Lanka loses nothing by preventing its national players from taking part in the IPL tournament. Nor will its national cricketers be left destitute without IPL money; they, we believe, will be able to make ends meet with their monthly salaries of four million rupees each. (Sri Lanka’s official poverty line at the national level is Rs. 3, 656!)
However, we think, Arjuna’s criticism of Sri Lankan cricketers is like water off a duck’s back. They have sold their souls to IPL organisers and there is nothing they wouldn’t do to have dollars jingling in their pockets. The less said about Sri Lankan cricket administrators the better! They are not there to promote the game but to look after their own interests.
The need has been felt more than ever for someone with a backbone like Captain Cool to manage the luverly game and tell the flannelled fools who have got too big for their boots where to get off. Only a former national skipper with a proven track record, leadership qualities, courage, vision and, above all, love for the game as well as the country is equal to that task. Others will only line their pockets and pander to the whims and fancies of players some of whom have become a law unto themselves, without caring two hoots about the wellbeing of the game. Licking the footwear of the powers that be is their forte!