MI Head Coach Jayawardene reveals why no Sri Lankan player will play IPL 2021.

No player from Sri Lanka will take part in the tournament during the 2021 edition for the first time in the history of the Indian Premier League.

The auction included Udana, Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera, but all went unsold, though rookie Jaffna leg-spinner Vijayakanth Vilasanti was one of the 298 players shortlisted to go under the hammer. However, with Malinga’s retirement and Isuru Udana’s release, no player from Sri Lanka was on the IPL squad.

Though in the initial stage of the league, the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, T Dilshan and Chaminda Vaas played a prominent role, Lasith Malinga continued the tradition by becoming a stalwart for Indians from Mumbai.

In IPL 2021, the only participation from Lanka will be from the coaches and mentors. Jayawardene is MI’s head coach and he said it was ‘disheartening’ that in the IPL 2021 mini-auction last Thursday, no Sri Lankan player was chosen. He added that in order to feature in the tournament, island players need to lift their game.

Jayawardene said “I think we still have the representation, so we’re happy (joking about him and Sangakkara being in the IPL). But yeah, a bit disappointed. I’m sure a few of the guys were on the radar, but I think it’s a tough place because you’re looking at 20-odd slots for the overseas players and the majority of the slots were for those fast bowlers and all-rounders, which I think Sri Lanka lacks a little bit of that,” He added, “But I’m sure the younger generation will come through and till then, it is disheartening but that is what it is. IPL is a place where you try and get the best players in world cricket to come and play. And it’s a good message for the Sri Lankan players to lift their game up, get competitive, so they could be part of the IPL on their merit.”

Defending champions Mumbai Indians picked up Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jimmy Neesham, Yudhvir Charak, Marco Jansen, Arjun Tendulkar and Piyush Chawla at the players’ auction held on Thursday.