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Rediff News  All News  » Cricket » I don't believe in bringing politics into sport, says De Silva

I don't believe in bringing politics into sport, says De Silva

April 06, 2013 17:23 IST

Former captain Aravinda de Silva has chosen to react diplomatically over Sri Lankan cricketers' exclusion from the IPL matches in Chennai.

"They're all grown up enough to decide what they want to do in life. They understand the situation well and I think those guys decided to go," de Silva said.

Aravinda de SilvaThe IPL's Governing Council has decided that the matches in Chennai will not feature any Sri Lankan cricketers or match officials, following growing political tensions, stemming from the anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the southern city of India.

The 1996 World Cup-winning hero, however, said that sports should be kept away from politics.

"I think politics should be kept completely outside sport. Sport is something that bridges differences between various people. The best thing is to forget about politics and continue sport as sport," De Silva said on Saturday.

Asked about the comments by World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga that the Lankan players should have boycotted the IPL due to their non-participation in Chennai games, de Silva said, "It's an individual decision. As I said, I don't believe in bringing politics into sport.

"I would have preferred if the youth had not been forced to make decisions on things such as politics. I can't speak for anyone else," said De Silva.

Speaking about T20 cricket’s popularity, De Silva said the Twenty20 format complements the other two formats of the game and should not be considered as a threat to Test cricket.

"It's a concept that is going to be there for a while. It's like when ODI cricket came through ... it's a format that is going to support the other two formats. There's enough room for Test cricket and ODIs to grow.

"An individual's skills and mental ability is tested more in those formats. T20 is more towards the entertainment side. The revenues generated by T20 can support the other two formats. This is important for cricket to be sustained.

"Test cricket is something we've always enjoyed and it shows us the mental skills and real talent of a cricketer. ODI is a mixture of entertainment and playing under pressure," he said.

De Silva said he would have liked to play the T20 format but it was not in his "destiny".

"Obviously it would have been good to have played every format. But that was not my destiny. Probably, cricketers who came before me would have felt they missed out on ODI cricket. Similarly, some of us missed out on T20 cricket and that's what life is all about. What matters is to watch the game and enjoy it, try and help the youngsters for the future," he said.

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