Barely a week before its inauguration, the participation of top Sri Lankan players in the high-profile IPL was today thrown into jeopardy after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa refused to host them in view of the prevailing anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the state.
Jayalalithaa wrote a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making it clear that IPL matches would be permitted in the state only if there were no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff in these matches.
The development has now virtually ruled out the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL matches in Chennai even as top BCCI officials discussed the issue to find a compromise solution.
Although the BCCI or the IPL Governing Council have not made any official statement, it is learnt that the IPL franchises would be advised to bench their Sri Lankan players for the matches in Chennai.
Altogether 13 Sri Lankan players, two of whom are captains of their respective teams, are taking part in the sixth edition of the league which will start from April 3.
Chennai, the home for Chennai Super Kings, will stage 10 matches in all, including two eliminators, and a top BCCI official said that it will continue to remain a venue.
"We are reviewing the situation after the latest development and we will take a call. But we will go ahead with the tournament and Chennai will continue to be a venue," IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla said.
"We have to take two things into account. We have to take the local sentiments into account and at same time the safety and security of the Sri Lankan players are paramount," he said.
"If the local administration has given something we have to listen to that as ultimately we need the help of the state authorities to hold the tournament like security arrangement.
We can't ignore the advice from the local administration," he said.