Even If get 10m dollars I would have pulled out  - Arjuna


March 28 - The former Captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, slammed the decision of the Sri Lankan government and the country’s cricket board to allow its players to participate in the IPL matches as an endorsement of human rights abuse allegations against Colombo.

"What most people seem to ignore is that both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi are wanting to stop Sri Lankans playing in Tamil Nadu because they accuse Sri Lanka of human rights violations. So playing in other (Indian) States while skipping Tamil Nadu is an endorsement of human rights allegations against our country," Ranatunga told PTI.

"Players must be made aware of this, as the world will say that Sri Lankan IPL players have unwittingly endorsed the human rights violation charges," he said.

Ranatunga’s comments came as the government allowed 13 players to appear for IPL franchises subject to their skipping matches in Chennai.

He slammed the IPL Governing Council’s decision to withdraw Sri Lankan cricketers from the Chennai matches, and asked the players to opt out of the entire high-profile event beginning April 3.

In a telephonic chat with the Mumbai Mirror, Arjuna Ranatunga, former World Cup winning captain and currently a member of a political opposition party in Sri Lanka, slammed the Tamil Nadu politicians and the decision of the IPL Governing Council to withdraw Sri Lankan players from Chennai games. He has also called on the Lankan players roped in to show "some pride and dignity" and pull out of the competition starting next week.

Q: You have been asking Sri Lankan players to withdraw from the IPL. Would you have done that if you were raking in millions?

A: Absolutely. Even If get 10 million dollars I would have pulled out. The way they are going to treat the Sri Lankan players, even if I have no problem in playing in other places, I would have taken the firm step to pull out.

Q: Can you at least understand why the SL players are not pulling out? It can cause controversy apart from the money issue.

A: It’s about Lanka’s pride and honour. It’s not up to me to say what they should do, of course. But, for me what they should realise is if Tamil Nadu politicians are trying to treat our players like this, they should have pride and honour to not to go and participate in the IPL. They should know the pride and dignity as cricketers representing the country. They are not just normal cricketers; some of them have been playing for 10-15 years and they are role models. They should forget the money part and withdraw.

Q: Do you think the Sri Lankan board should make those tough calls instead of players?

A: I don’t think SLC has the backbone to do it. I am also disappointed with the IPL organisers.

Q: In 2010, IPL took games out of Hyderabad due to a Telengana issue. Do you think something like this could have been done this time?

A: Yes. They should have taken the matches out of Chennai. If Tamil Nadu doesn’t want Sri Lankan players, then might as well pull out of Chennai. Why give in to these ugly demands of the politicians? Cricket will go in a wrong way. Sri Lanka Tamils, Sri Lanka Sinhalese, Sri Lanka Muslims all have been suffering from the LTTE for decades and now are seeing some kind of peace. If Jayalalitha wants Eelam (a separate nation for the Tamils), she should have it in Tamil Nadu, not in Sri Lanka. She doesn’t have any right to talk about our country. All Tamils and Sinhalese who live here are our citizens. Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi are just trying to play games like this because the elections are approaching in India.

(Courtesy PTI)

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