Mumbai, Apr 21: Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga and West Indies player Chris Gayle have found ways to play for their IPL franchises while Sri Lanka and West Indies are preparing for international fixtures, reports sources.
Interestingly enough, the IPL has always maintained that the FTP gets primacy over the league.
Gayle has joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore, while Malinga surprised his home board by pulling out of the Test series, citing injury while continuing to play for the Mumbai Indians.
Gayle has angered the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) by making himself unavailable for the entire home series against Pakistan so that he can play in the IPL.
The WICB said on Wednesday that while Gayle was rehabilitating from an abdominal strain suffered at the World Cup under the supervision of the team's medical personnel in Jamaica for the past two weeks, it repeatedly informed him he would be considered for national duty when fit.
In the meantime, the board said he wasn't ready to be included in the squads for the opening Twenty20 International on Thursday and the first two ODIs of a five-match series.
So it was “surprised” to receive a note from Gayle saying he'd accepted a request from Royal Challengers Bangalore to join them as an injury replacement.
“The WICB does not accept Gayle's reason for making himself unavailable but, as he has already made his choice and has travelled to India, the WICB does not wish to stand in his way,” the board said in a statement.
“The WICB is most disappointed in the manner in which Gayle has handled the entire situation, especially given the mature and cooperative manner in which two other players who refused (retainer) contracts — Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard — made themselves available for selection and agreed to an understanding in the best interest of West Indies cricket.”
The WICB allowed Pollard to miss national duty to fulfill his obligation for Mumbai Indians. Bravo will represent West Indies in the five ODIs but miss the two Tests in order to play for Chennai Super Kings in the later part of the league.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka cricket officials cast doubts on Malinga's injury claims by saying it is “awkward” that he plays in the IPL while saying he is unfit for the upcoming Test series in England. Chief selector Duleep Mendis said on Wednesday that Malinga wrote to the board to say he was unavailable for the three Tests starting from May 26. “It looks a bit awkward that he (Malinga) says that he is injured and continues to play cricket,” Mendis said.
“When a player says he is injured we want him to undergo a rehabilitation program immediately without playing cricket.” Mendis said the selectors will inform the fast bowler, a standout in 30 Tests and 84 ODIs, that he should be fit to play for the national team.
Sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said national team players in the IPL will have to return home early before travelling to England. He said, in future, permission for players to participate in foreign leagues will be given only when it doesn't affect the national cricket calendar.