New Delhi: The club versus country debate has been reignited after the Sri Lankan Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that national team duties must take precedence over the IPL. The Sri Lankan players, who had finished as the runners-up at the World cup 2011, joined the Indian Premier League which commenced just 6 days after the mega event.
The Lankan Sports Minister ordered the players to fly back by May 5, for a camp to prepare for the upcoming tour of England. Nishanta Ranatunga, Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket clarified the decision, "The players who have been selected, we have to call them back by 5th May. I think when we released the players, it was a commitment by the Sri Lankan Board that if there are any future tours, that they will be released by the BCCI."
Several Sri Lankan players have shown dazzling performances at the IPL this year, particularly Lasith Malinga who has been a dominant figure in the Mumbai Indians' bowling line-up. The absence of Tillakaratne Dilshan, who has opened Bangalore's batting as well as bowled some useful off-spinners, will also come as a blow to the Royal Challengers.
Former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said, "But players need to take that responsibility. If they want to play in the IPL they can, no one is forced to do that, it's an individual choice but at the same time we take a lot of pride in playing for the country so we make sure playing for the IPL doesn't adversely affect our performances for your country."
The decision has come as a shock to most franchises, considering the amount they had spent to get the players at the auctions. The reason behind the recall however, is widely debated but rumours of a row between the cricket boards of the two nations have been flying around.
The decision also means that two captains - Kumar Sangakkara (Hyderabad Deccan Chargers) and Mahela Jaywardena (Kochi Tuskers Kerala) - would fly out from this year's IPL leaving the door open for the post. Kochi might choose from Brendon McCullum, VVS Laxman or Brad Hodge to lead the team while the Deccan Chargers , might look to JP Duminy or Dale Steyn to take command.