Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla Tuesday asserted that IPL matches in Chennai will go ahead as scheduled despite growing unrest in the city over the participation of Sri Lankan cricketers in the cash-rich Twenty20 league.
Shukla's comments came in reply to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that the state government will permit IPL matches only if the organisers promise that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff will participate.
Shukla, union minister for parliamentary affairs, however, said that the local administration's advice cannot be ignored.
"All the matches scheduled to be held in Chennai will go on as scheduled. As far as Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is concerned, we have briefed them about the security measures taken by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India)," Shukla told NDTV.
"Security and safety of the Sri Lankan players are paramount. But we have to take care of the local sentiments and accordingly will advise the SLC on the security situation," he said.
The IPL chairman said the franchises will also be advised and asked to take a call accordingly.
"A new situation has risen and we have to strategise the whole thing. We have to consider the local sentiments but we also have to take care of the security of the Sri Lankan players. The BCCI and the SLC have the best of the relationship," he said.
Street protests have taken place in Tamil Nadu to denounce the Sri Lankan government for the killings of Tamil civilians in the war against the Tamil Tigers in the island country that ended May 2009.
Eight of the nine IPL franchises have 13 Sri Lankans in their roster. Chennai, home to Super Kings, is scheduled to host 10 IPL matches this season.
Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Kulasekara will play for Chennai Super Kings; Jeevan Mendis and Mahela Jayawardene for Delhi Daredevils; Sachithra Senanayake plays for Kolkata Knight Riders; Lasith Malinga is with Mumbai Indians; Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews are in Pune Warriors; Rajasthan Royals have Kusal Janith Perera; Royal Challengers have Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan; and Sunrisers Hyderabad have Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera. Jayawardene will be leading Daredevils while Sangakkara will be in charge of Sunrisers.