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Sri Lanka Cricket denies claims of players facing auction ban for missing initial IPL 2023 matches

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has rejected some media reports which have claimed that its players could face a potential IPL auction ban owing to their unavailability for the first few games of the Indian Premier League 2023 season.

IPL 2023 will get underway on Friday, March 31, with a match between Gujarat Titans (GT) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK). While Bhanuka Rajapaksa (Punjab Kings) is available for the entire season, Wanindu Hasaranga (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana (Chennai Super Kings) will miss the first few games of IPL 2023.

The Lankan trio is part of the national team which is in New Zealand. The tour will end with the third T20I (of a three-match series), which will be played in Queenstown on April 8.

Some reports in Sri Lankan media have hinted that the BCCI is not pleased with players missing the initial games, and also claimed that the Indian cricket board was pondering strict action.

However, as per a report in Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror, the SLC has issued NOCs to its IPL-bound players, adding that the BCCI has not expressed any sort of disappointment over the matter. The Daily Mirror quoted an SLC official as saying:

“We have issued the players with no objection certificates to go for the IPL after the New Zealand tour, and the BCCI have accepted it. They have not expressed any sort of displeasure in the players being unavailable for the opening few matches.”

Apart from Sri Lankan cricketers, some of South Africa’s star names will also miss the start of IPL 2023. David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi won’t be available for some of the initial matches as the Proteas are scheduled to host the Netherlands for two ODIs on March 31 and April 2.

Sri Lanka cricketers impressed in IPL 2022

Hasaranga was the second-leading wicket-taker in IPL 2022. In 16 matches for RCB, he picked up 26 wickets at an average of 16.53 and an economy rate of 7.54, with one five-wicket haul and one four-fer.

Theekshana claimed 12 scalps in nine matches for CSK at an average of 21.75 and an economy rate of 7.45. Pathirana played two games and claimed two wickets, impressing with his pace.

Aggressive left-handed batter Rajapaksa played nine matches for PBKS, scoring 206 runs at a strike rate of 159.68.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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