RCB's Hasaranga and Chameera cleared for IPL 2021 league phase, could miss playoffs

It's a happy birthday: Wanindu Hasaranga took 4 for 9 on his 24th birthday Ishara S.Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera have been cleared by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to turn out for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the second chunk of IPL 2021, but as things stand, the permission is only till October 9, meaning they won't be available for the franchise should they reach the playoffs unless an extension is arranged.

The two will be able to link up with the team after September 15, which is a day after Sri Lanka's series at home against South Africa gets over, but have been asked to join their national team on October 10 for their warm-up games in the lead-up to the men's T20 World Cup qualifying round, starting October 17.

"The 'No Objection Certificate' to the duo was issued for them to join the IPL teams starting from 15th September (following the completion of the South Africa Tour of Sri Lanka)," an SLC statement said. "The two players will join the Sri Lanka squad on 10th October 2021 to play in the two warm-up games prior to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifiers."

South Africa are playing a series of three ODIs and three T20Is in Sri Lanka from September 2 to September 14. The IPL, which was postponed after 29 league matches in May following a spate of Covid-19 cases in multiple team bubbles, will resume on September 19 in the UAE, across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The league phase of the IPL gets over on October 8, with Royal Challengers featuring in the final fixture against Delhi Capitals in Dubai. The playoffs are slotted for October 10, 11, 13 and 15.

But Sri Lanka play their first game in the first (qualifying) round of the T20 World Cup on October 18, against Namibia in Abu Dhabi and, prior to that, two warm-up games, which they want Hasaranga and Chameera for.

Hasaranga and Chameera, as well as Australia's Singapore-born batter Tim David and English left-arm seamer George Garton, were signed up by Royal Challengers earlier this month as replacements for New Zealand's Finn Allen and Scott Kuggeleijn, and Australia's Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams and Adam Zampa, who will all miss the tournament for different reasons.

That aside, there has been a change among the coaching staff too, with Simon Katich stepping down as head coach, and Mike Hesson, at present the director of cricket operations, taking on the additional responsibility of filling in for Katich.