England tour, IPL controversy not settled yet: Sri Lanka

July 12th, 2008 - 4:27 pm ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, July 12 (IANS) Amid reports that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was considering to postpone the team’s England tour next year to accommodate the requests by key players to allow them to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament, a top official said the issue was yet to finalised. The SLC official said no decision has been reached whether or not to postpone the England tour next year and allow many key players to partake in the next IPL tournament, to commence in April 2009.

“The issue has not been finalised yet and talks in this regard are still underway,” the official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

A cricket analyst here pointed out the issue would be resolved only if the England Cricket Board (ECB) agrees to the latest requirements and adjustments of the SLC.

“This would obviously include the dates, strength of the team and so on. Otherwise it will become a serious issue for the International Cricket Council (ICC),” the analyst said.

Key Sri Lankan players, including skipper Mahela Jayawardane, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Pervez Mahroof, Thilakaratne Dishan and Dilhara Fernando are some of the players who have signed three-year contracts with IPL.

The 38-year old left-handed Sanath Jayasuriya became the third highest paid player of the IPL when he was sold for a whopping $975,000 at auction in India early this year.

The Asia Cup star and Sri Lanka’s new spin sensation, Ajantha Mendis, has also signed up with the Kolkata Knight Riders for three years and was expected to make regular appearances for the IPL during the 2009-2010 season.

The 23-year-old off-spinner from the Sri Lankan Army, who came to the international limelight following his excellent performance against West Indies in the Caribbean islands early this year, won the Man of the Match award at the Asia Cup final in Lahore for his six-wicket haul against India.

He was also adjudged the Man of the Series for taking 17 scalps during the tournament.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, rewarded Ajantha Mendis by promoting him from the rank of sergeant to second lieutenant in the army.

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